Investigation Clears Officer Involved in Fatal SWAT Shooting

The Iowa Attorney General's Office says the Sioux City SWAT officer who pulled the trigger was justified in shooting Navarrete as he leaned out an apartment window on January 28th. The report says Navarrete was armed, but the gun wasn't in his hand when was shot.

Navarrete was the suspect in a murder that happened three days before. Police tracked him to an apartment on South Helen Street.

The report says officers were told Navarrete had said he wouldn't go back to prison, and wouldn't go out without a fight. When the swat team threw a flash grenade into the apartment's bottom floor, Navarrete ran upstairs and broke the window. That's when a SWAT sniper 30 yards away fired a single shot, hitting Navarrete in the back left shoulder.

The bullet damaged his lungs and severed his spinal cord, so the report confirms Navarrete died from the gunshot, not the fall from the second story window. The report also says some witnesses reported Navarrete was standing upright with his hands in the air before he was shot, but the entry wound on Navarrete's shoulder shows he had to have been leaning forward out the window, bent at the waist.

As for the handgun Navarrete had in his waistband, the officer who shot him said he saw a "dark object" in Navarrete's hand as he tried to break the window. Since Navarrete didn't have any cuts on his hands from broken glass, the report theorizes he used the gun to break the window, then tucked it back in his waistband as he tried to climb out.

There is one thing the report doesn't include - the name of the SWAT sniper.