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Man sentenced to prison in New Year's shooting, other gun incidents

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WATERLOO – A Waterloo man has pleaded to allegations he opened fire on people outside a nightclub in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, wounding one.

Kristopher Darquel Spates Jr. also pleaded to several other cases that involved carrying firearms and scuffling with Waterloo police officers.

Spates, 23, entered Alford pleas — not admitting guilt but acknowledging he likely would be convicted if the cases went to trial — Thursday to charges of willful injury, intimidation with a weapon, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, violation of the drug tax stamp act, interference with a firearm, carrying weapons, assault on a peace officer causing bodily injury and first-degree harassment.

As part of a plea agreement, Spates was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison with five years before parole.

Judge Andrea Dryer said the prison time was appropriate given the nature and number of the offenses.

Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney Jeremy Westendorf said part of the agreement involved not pressing federal charges.

The New Year’s shooting erupted during closing near an East Fourth Street nightclub. Police were called because patrons weren’t leaving, and as officers approached, they noticed people gathering in a nearby alley and heard gunshots. One of the bullets struck 31-year-old Ramarez Gary in the leg.

One officer fired a single shot at the gunman that missed. A foot chase ensued, and Spates and two teens were caught.

Two other cases Spates pleaded to occurred before the New Year’s shooting.

In October 2014, police were called to a home at 520 Elm St. and found a 17-year-old girl with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. During the investigation, officers stopped a truck carrying Spates. He allegedly pulled away from officers, who found bags of marijuana where he had been sitting.

A relative of Spates was later charged with manslaughter in the girl’s death.

On April 17, 2014, police were called to people loitering in front of 520 Elm St., and Spates ran and allegedly discarded a .380-caliber pistol when officers arrived.

Each time, Spates left jail after posting bond. His last brush with authorities came in September 2016 when he was a front seat passenger in a car that was pulled over for a bad brake light. Officers saw a handgun tucked in his waistband, and Spates allegedly pulled away from police. He was detained, and the officer determined the weapon, a 40-caliber Glock, had been reported stolen in a 2015 break-in.

Spates allegedly spit on one officer and threatened another.

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