UPDATE: Police arrest suspect in connection with Thursday shooting

Tear gas fired into apartment building

Vanessa Miller
Published: August 17 2012 | 2:20 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 11:08 pm in
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UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Saturday:  IOWA CITY — One man is dead, two men are in custody and two state narcotics investigators are on paid administrative leave after an undercover operation went awry Thursday, sending officers on a 24-hour manhunt for suspects connected to the case.

Authorities Friday night apprehended John Mulbah, 20, after firing several rounds of tear gas into an apartment building at 1305 Sunset St. They are still seeking a fourth man connected with the Thursday shooting, Norman Dudley, 20.

Investigators notified the public about 2 p.m. Friday that they were interested in talking with Dudley and Mulbah because, they said, the two were present during the fatal shooting Thursday and fled the scene. Investigators said they found Mulbah at the Sunset Street apartment about 3:15 p.m. Friday, and he tried to escape out a window before barricading himself inside.

Dozens of officers surrounded the building, which was evacuated, before firing tear gas into a window just after 7 p.m., while several hecklers shouted, “He ain’t in there.” Mulbah came out and was taken into police custody without incident.

Mulbah made an initial appearance Saturday morning in Johnson County District Court and faces a charge of possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver. He is accused of selling about 10 grams of cocaine to an undercover state agent on Monday in Iowa City.

Norman Dudley’s brother, Demarco Dudley, 22, was injured during the shooting Thursday and also was booked into the Johnson County Jail Friday night after being released from a nearby hospital. Demarco Dudley made an initial appearance Saturday on a charge of first-degree robbery in connection with the Thursday night incident.

While his exact role in the incident hasn't been disclosed, a criminal complaint filed against Demarco Dudley indicates the suspects who were on hand in trailer 7C in the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park, 4494 Taft Ave. SE, knew people were arriving with a large amount of cash to purchase drugs. During the transaction, a man with a gun and another with a club appeared from a back room and threatened the undercover officers, the complaint states.

Ivan Carl Hardemon, 24, was killed during the Thursday shootout that erupted during the transaction. Investigators have not disclosed who fired shots or what roles those in police custody played in the Thursday night incident.

Kevin Winker, assistant director of the Division of Narcotics Enforcement in the Iowa Department of Public Safety, said his agency has opened about 880 drug investigations in the last 18 months, many of which involved undercover agents.

“Our agents are well trained in conducting undercover operations, but it’s a high-risk activity, and confrontations do occur,” Winker said.

Six law enforcement officers were involved Thursday – four from the state narcotics division and two from the Johnson County Drug Task Force.

Authorities haven’t released specifics of the narcotics investigation, including how many officers were undercover, what they were looking for and how long they’ve been working the operation.

Those officers are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure following a shooting.

Witnesses told The Gazette they heard two to three shots fired at different pitches, indicating to them that different guns were being fired. They reported seeing a flurry of activity — people yelling, running and cars flying by.

Neighbors said they saw a man’s body lying outside one of the mobile homes, and investigators confirmed Friday that Hardemon died at the scene, apparently from a gunshot wound.

Investigators said they believe Demarco Dudley was picked up near the scene of the shooting by his brother, Norman Dudley, in a red Buick LeSabre, with the license plate 272ZRY. They said Demarco Dudley was dropped off a short time later at the entrance of Bon Aire Mobile Home Park in Iowa City — just three miles away from the shooting.

Bill Kietzman, special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Demarco Dudley was left there alone, and an ambulance on its way to the scene of the shooting stopped and provided aid to the wounded man, who was rushed to a nearby hospital.

It’s unclear whether the undercover agents were being fired at before they started shooting, and officials didn’t disclose details about whether any of the men present during the incident were armed.

All of the men identified as being involved or at least present for the shooting have criminal records in Iowa. Demarco Dudley, who has nine cases listed in the state’s court database, was recently released from the Johnson County Jail after being sentenced to 30 days on July 3 for a string of probation violations.

Dudley’s probation stemmed from a conviction on charges of assault causing bodily injury and criminal mischief following a fight with a former girlfriend in 2011.

Hardemon has seven criminal cases in Iowa, according to online court records, including a November arrest for disorderly conduct following his role in a group fight in Iowa City.

Mulbah has 22 criminal cases in Iowa, according to online court records, including a felony drug conviction in February. Norman Dudley has just one criminal case in Iowa.

Mulbah was the only one of the four listed in public records with an Iowa City address. The Dudley brothers had addresses in Illinois, and Hardemon was unlisted.

Coralville police Chief Barry Bedford said his department’s representative on the Johnson County Drug Task Force was in the area “for the transaction” on Thursday evening but was not directly involved in the shooting or the response.

Bedford said the task force was prepared for the potential need for backup, and Coralville’s officer was part of the group that was ready to respond.

An official with the property management firm that oversees the Breckenridge Estates, who declined to be identified because of fears for his safety, said his office had evicted the previous tenants in the C7 unit, and he said the mobile home has been abandoned. He said none of the men identified as being involved in Thursday’s shooting lived in the neighborhood.

“We were just shocked,” he said. “We’re just glad our tenants are safe and no kids were hurt.”

He told The Gazette that he heard two to three gunshots and saw a body behind a trailer across the street from the unit under investigation. He said he watched as officers removed a handgun from the area near the body.

Investigators spent the night combing the scene for evidence — a trail of blood is marked with orange spray paint along Taft Avenue near where witnesses said they saw a man get in a getaway vehicle.

Brad Martin, who lives in the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park, said he showed up shortly after the shooting and talked with teenagers who reported seeing “people running through backyards.”

Martin’s wife, Tamonvan Martin, said she’s noticed a lot of people coming and going from the suspect mobile home in the past six months, but she never talked to anyone who said they lived there.

“So many people would stop by,” she said. “They were always in and out and in and out.”

Tamonvan Martin said she’s lived in the park for eight years and has always felt safe.

“But I’m afraid,” she said.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m. A suspect connected to Thursday night's fatal shooting east of Iowa City was arrested Friday night after a four-hour standoff that ended with tear gas being fired into an apartment building.

John Mulbah, one of four men identified in connection with the Thursday shooting that erupted out of an undercover narcotics investigation at the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park east of Iowa City, was taken to the Johnson County Jail about 7:20 p.m., according to Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton. It's unknown at this time what charges he might face.

Brotherton did not confirm whether or not Norman Dudley, the other men who police were looking for after he fled Thursday's incident, has been apprehended.

UPDATE 6:43 p.m.: Authorities have surrounded an apartment building on the west side of Iowa City after learning that one of the men involved in Thursday night's fatal shooting east of town is barricaded inside, likely armed.

In an effort to try and find John Mulbah and Norman Dudley, two men who fled following a narcotics investigation gone awry at the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park east of Iowa City on Thursday, officers tracked Mulbah to an apartment inside a building at 1305 Sunset Street.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said officers tried to make contact with the man, believed to be Mulbah, about 3:15 p.m. and he tried to escape out a window before barricading himself inside. Brotherton said the belief is that he's armed, and she's encouraging the dozens of spectators who have been lining the streets for hours to clear away.

Police about 7 p.m. closed the south sidewalk along Aber Avenue when some of the spectators started yelling at police.

"He ain't even in there," one man yelled.

Sgt. Brotherton told spectators that if they cross the street, they do face being arrested and have put themselves in a potentially dangerous spot.

"I can't verify your safety if you can see the guns," she said. "I wouldn't be around here."

Officers from numerous agencies including Iowa City and Coralville police departments, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Division of Criminal Investigation are working the scene.

It's unclear what charges Mulbah will face once he's arrested. Brotherton said police don't have any new information to release on Norman Dudley's whereabouts. His brother, Demarco Dudley remains hospitalized after being shot during the narcotics investigation Thursday evening.

Ivan Carl Hardemon was shot and killed during the incident Thursday.

UPDATE 5:55 p.m., Friday,. Aug. 17, 2012: Iowa City police officers with guns drawn have surrounded an apartment at Aber Avenue and Sunset Street in Iowa City. Reports from the scene say the action is connected to the shooting Thursday night.

UPDATE 2:35 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, 2012: IOWA CITY - A 24-year-old man shot and killed during an undercover drug investigation east of Iowa City on Thursday night has been identified as Ivan Carl Hardemon.

A second man involved in the incident who was shot and hospitalized has been identified as Demarco Dudley.

During a press conference Friday afternoon, Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said the shooting occurred during an undercover operation at trailer 7C in the Breckenridge Estate mobile home park, 4494 Taft Ave., on Thursday evening. Specifically, two Division of Narcotics Enforcement agents assigned to the Johnson County Drug Task Force were involved in the shooting.

Lyness said that Dudley was driven from the Breckenridge mobile home part shortly after the shooting and dropped off at the entrance of Bon Aire Mobile Home Park in Iowa City. Investigators believe his brother, Norman Dudley, drove him in a red Buick LeSabre, Iowa license plate 272ZRY.

The vehicle was later found abandoned on Regal Lane near the corner of Lakeside Drive.

Investigators are trying to find Norman Dudley and John Mulbah, who are believed to have been present at or near the shooting. Anyone with information can call the Johnson County Joint Emergency Communications Center at (319) 358-6800.

Officers said they're following up on the shooting and the original narcotics investigation that led to the fatal shooting. It's unclear whether any of the men involved will face charges related to drugs or the altercation with officers.

The agents involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave pending a review of the incident.

Previously posted: A man killed Thursday evening during an undercover drug investigation outside Iowa City limits did not live in the mobile home park where he died, according to an official with the property management company that oversees Breckenridge Estates.

“The person who passed away is not a tenant of ours,” said a property management official and neighbor who didn’t want to give his name. “No one knows who he was. We’re just glad our tenants are safe and no kids were hurt.”

He and another neighbor told The Gazette that they heard a rapid succession of gunshots just before 7 p.m. at the Breckenridge Estate mobile home park at 4494 Taft Ave. SE. They both reported hearing a commotion and seeing a blur of people and cars fly by.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation reported the incident started during an undercover drug investigation involving the Johnson County Drug Task Force, including two officers from the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement. They were conducting an operation at trailer 7C in the mobile home park, and the DCI reported that a fight broke out shortly before the shots were fired.

One man died at the scene, and another suspect was injured during the incident, which is being called an “officer-involved” shooting, according to the DCI. No officers were injured during the incident, and the DCI has not released names of the officers involved or the shooting victims.

Neighbors who spoke with The Gazette said they heard two to three gunshots at different pitches, indicating to them that different guns were being fired. They both saw a body behind  a mobile home that was across the street from the unit under investigation, and one person said he saw officers remove a handgun from an area near the body.

Investigators spent the night combing the scene for evidence – a trail of blood is marked with orange spray paint along Taft Avenue near the mobile home park. Witnesses said they saw one man jump in a getaway vehicle, but it’s unknown how many suspects were involved and how many people might face charges.

Authorities have said there is no ongoing threat to the community.

Brad Martin, who lives in the Breckenridge Estates mobile home park, said he showed up shortly after the shooting and was told the victim was dead. He said teenagers reported seeing “people running through backyards.”

Martin’s wife, Tamonvan Martin, said she has noticed a lot of people coming and going from the mobile home over the past six months, but she never talked to the home’s residents.

“So many people would stop by,” she said. “They were always in and out and in and out.”

Tamonvan Martin said she has lived in the park for eight years and has always felt safe.

“But I’m afraid,” she said.

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