WATERLOO — A Waterloo man accused of shooting at a police officer in May 2017 said the gun accidentally fired when he fell.
But prosecutors said Miquelle Depree Miller, 22, had attempted to kill Officer Tyler Brownell after the officer spotted him while responding to gunfire in the West Parker Street neighborhood.
Now the government is using the attempted murder argument to enhance the sentence Miller, 22, will face on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“The manner in which defendant fired his weapon: stopping, turning, and aiming, combined with the fact that Officer Brownell was in uniform and traveling in a marked patrol car, provides strong circumstantial evidence of defendant’s intent,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Williams wrote in a sentencing memo.
No one was injured in the shooting.
Miller has been indicted for felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in federal court and charged with intimidation with a weapon and assault on an officer in state court.
Sentencing in the federal case is slated for later this week.
Miller told authorities he and friends found the gun, a Ruger 9 mm pistol, in the middle of the street and picked it up. They then went to Prime Mart on Broadway Street, and afterward two of his friends fired the weapon into the air, threw the gun at Miller and ran off.
According to Miller’s account, he picked up the pistol, saw police and began running. He fell while running, and the weapon fired accidentally, he told investigators.
Miller continued running and discarded the gun in a back yard before he was detained.
Defense attorney Chad Frese argued there was no evidence Miller had attempted to kill Brownell, and he noted Miller wasn’t charged with attempted murder.
Williams said Miller’s actions are enough to show he intended to kill the officer.
“Intentionally firing shots at people constitutes attempted murder regardless of whether any specific individual is targeted or struck by the shots,” she wrote in a sentencing memo.