Council Bluffs police officer won’t face charges in Tuesday shooting of fleeing driver

Council Bluffs police officer won’t face charges in Tuesday shooting of fleeing driver
Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber spoke at a press conference Thursday regarding the officer-involved shooting Tuesday in Council Bluffs. The suspect is in stable condition at an Omaha hospital. Two officers injured in the chase will make full recoveries. The officer who shot at the suspect is on administrative leave but will not be charged. (World-Herald News Service)

Authorities commended the actions of the Council Bluffs police officers involved in a Tuesday chase that left a suspect wounded and said no charges would be filed against any officer.

A Council Bluffs police officer discharged nine rounds at Clifton Wade, 28, after he rammed two police cruisers during the chase. Three of the bullets struck Wade, who remains at the Nebraska Medical Center.

During a press conference Thursday, Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said Officer Jason Burleigh, 30, will not face charges for shooting Wade.

The chase began about 3 a.m. Tuesday, when Burleigh saw Wade peeling out of a parking lot in a pickup truck near the 3400 block of South 11th Street in the Bluffs.

Burleigh attempted to pull Wade over, but Wade sped off, eventually reaching Interstate 29 near mile marker 45.

During the press conference, dashcam video footage from several officers’ cruisers was shown.

The chase came to a head near the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy plant on a frontage road as Wade drove over an embankment after being confronted by officers with weapons drawn.

The footage shows Wade, with a middle finger raised at authorities, driving backward onto the Interstate before ramming, one after another, two police cruisers.

When Wade’s pickup struck Burleigh’s cruiser, Burleigh fired at the suspect.

“The officer said he wanted to take evasive action but knew there were deputies behind him, so he stayed in position when the truck crashes into him,” Wilber said.

Wade was struck by three bullets: one in the left elbow, one in the left collarbone and one in the head, with the bullet lodging at the base of his skull.

“After that, the officers switched from threat response to life response,” Wilber said. “An officer put a tourniquet on him; he was losing lots of blood.”

Wilber said Wade was in stable condition at the medical center. The bullet in his elbow has been removed, but the other bullets will most likely remain lodged in him, Wilber said.

The driver of the first rammed cruiser, Officer Matt Youso, suffered a concussion from the crash and is on light duty, but he is expected to return to full duty soon.

Burleigh was sore after the collision but was otherwise uninjured.

On Thursday, Council Bluffs Police Chief Tim Carmody said the department is still going through its protocol that is carried out each time an officer discharges a weapon.

Wade is charged with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and felony eluding. Wilber expects that felony charges of criminal mischief will be added on because of the damage to the police cruisers.

Wade, who is from Bondurant, Iowa, also has several warrants for traffic offenses, including a charge of operating while intoxicated. Once in custody, Wade admitted that he had been drinking alcohol before Tuesday’s chase, Wilber said.

The truck belonged to Wade’s father, who Wilber said had not known about the incident.

“His father called police at 7 a.m. that day to report his truck was missing and thought his son took it,” Wilber said.

Wilber noted that Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Burbridge’s death in the line of duty.

“We’re thankful officers were able to walk away,” Wilber said.

Burbridge was killed by a Pottawattamie County inmate who was trying to escape custody. Deputy Pat Morgan was wounded in the attack, as was an off-duty Omaha correctional officer.

When asked what they thought about how officers performed during the chase Tuesday, both Carmody and Wilber commended them.

“I’m very proud.,” Carmody said. “It speaks to them and the training they went through. They did an exceptional job.”

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