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Name released in fatal police shooting; man was brandishing air-soft gun

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WATERLOO — A Waterloo man who was shot and killed by police Saturday after pointing what appeared to be a pistol at them has been identified.

The deceased is 32-year-old Michael Ahrens. He was pronounced dead at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Authorities said the weapon Ahrens was holding turned out to be an airsoft gun designed to look like a SIG Sauer pistol. A photo released by the DCI shows the gun didn’t have an orange muzzle meant to indicate that the weapon is a replica.

Police had yelled for him to drop the weapon multiple times and fired a less-lethal round at him before the shooting.

081522ho-sig-airgun-vs-real

On the left is an airsoft gun police say Michael Ahrens was brandishing when he was shot by officers. On the right is a photo of a real pistol from the SIG Sauer website.

Two officers fired on Ahrens, and investigators haven’t released the identities of the officers involved. They have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

DCI is investigating the incident, which is standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

According to the DCI, Waterloo police were called around 4:30 p.m. Saturday after Ahrens, who court records indicate was homeless, was waiving the gun around at the Flavor Stop ice cream store on Lafayette Street.

Waterloo police respond to an incident Aug. 13, 2022, along Dubuque Road in the area of Idaho and Colorado streets.

Officers found the man walking west on Dubuque Road, and he walked away from police and ignored orders to drop the weapon as he continued walking.

During the confrontation, an officer fired a less-lethal bean-bag-type round at Ahrens, apparently striking him, according to the DCI. Ahrens then pointed the weapon at police twice and was shot, according to the DCI. Two bullets struck Ahrens.

Authorities provided first aid, and he was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Audio and video of the incident was captured on several Waterloo police body cameras. Upon completion of the investigation, the case report will be forwarded to the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office for review.

This is the third officer-involved shooting for the Waterloo Police Department in less than two years.

Marcelino Alvarez-Victoriano, 44, was shot and wounded by Officer C.J. Nichols after authorities were called to a report of a man with a gun in the early morning hours of April 7, 2021. Alvarez aimed a weapon at sheriff’s deputies who responded to the call. Following the shooting, investigators determined the weapon was a BB gun.

Brent Lee Boggess, 42, was shot and killed by Officer Ken Schaaf in an alley behind Boggess’ home following a lengthy vehicle chase after Boggess rammed an occupied squad car in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 2021.

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