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Davenport police say 7 suspects linked to shootings, unrest

June 2, 2020 GMT
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A heavy police presence is seen near an entrance of NorthPark Mall along West Kimberly Road Monday, June 1, 2020, in Davenport, Iowa. Two people are dead and a police officer was wounded in a round of rioting and violence that occurred Sunday night into Monday morning in Davenport. (Meg McLaughlin/Quad City Times via AP)
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A heavy police presence is seen near an entrance of NorthPark Mall along West Kimberly Road Monday, June 1, 2020, in Davenport, Iowa. Two people are dead and a police officer was wounded in a round of rioting and violence that occurred Sunday night into Monday morning in Davenport. (Meg McLaughlin/Quad City Times via AP)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Davenport say seven heavily armed men were linked to shootings that wounded a man outside a jewelry store and a police officer during civil unrest that rocked the city this week.

Court documents and a timeline from the Scott County Attorney’s Office allege the local men, who are between the ages of 27 and 34, were responsible for some of the worst violence that began late Sunday and prompted the county to impose a curfew.

Police are still investigating the deaths of a 22-year-old woman who was shot while leaving a protest outside a Walmart and of a man who was found near where the suspects exchanged gunfire with police.

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The violence overshadowed earlier peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Hours of chaos across the city of 100,000 people included looting at several businesses, dozens of shots fired incidents and at least two high-speed chases.

In response, Scott County imposed a 9 p.m. curfew beginning Monday night until further notice and officials asked residents to stay home and secure their cars and guns. On Tuesday morning, the county attorney, Michael Walton, reported a “fairly quiet night.”

Walton’s office announced charges late Monday against the seven suspects.

Six were arrested after a high-speed chase through the streets of Davenport that ended when an unspecified “police intervention” disabled their vehicle, court records say.

The chase started after suspects opened fire on an unmarked police truck that was investigating a “suspicious vehicle” in an alley at about 2:55 a.m., Walton said.

The officer driving the truck was shot in the leg with one bullet, another hit his holstered firearm and others struck his headrest, according to Walton’s timeline.

An officer riding in the truck returned fire and the suspects got in a Pontiac Grand Prix and fled. The truck drove the injured officer to a hospital as marked police vehicles chased the Pontiac, which allegedly reached speeds beyond 80 miles per hour in city neighborhoods.

After it was disabled and crashed, police say they found seven firearms, ammunition and magazines inside the vehicle. Another gun was thrown out the window during the chase, police said.

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The driver and four passengers were detained, a sixth was apprehended after fleeing on foot and the seventh was arrested elsewhere. Five of them are charged with illegally possessing firearms as felons, among other charges. They remained in the county jail Tuesday.

Near where the officer was shot, police later found a man lying next to a vehicle who had died from a gunshot wound. Police say they found a semi-automatic handgun underneath his body.

Walton declined comment on whether police fire killed the man, whose identification was being withheld pending notification of his family. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was helping investigate his death and the death of 22-year-old Italia Kelly.

Police said surveillance video shows that the deceased man and some of the other arrested suspects were involved in a shooting outside Necker’s Jewelers hours earlier. They were casing the business when other cars arrived and multiple people fired shots in the parking lot at each other and fled, police said.

One man was shot in the legs and eventually transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City for treatment. A man who took him first to a Bettendorf hospital was arrested on weapons charges.