By Barbara Rodriguez
ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa — The Rockwell City police department lost one of its four officers Friday in an early-morning shooting that occurred during a standoff.
Officer Jamie Buenting, 37, was hit by a single gunshot and pronounced dead later at a hospital in Lake City, Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Michael Motsinger said at a news conference.
Corey Trott, 32, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The Rockwell City man is being held in the Sac County Jail. Information about upcoming court appearances was not available.
Officers went to a home in Rockwell City, about 75 miles northwest of Des Moines, on Thursday night after receiving a 911 call from someone who saw Trott inside the home.
A warrant had been issued last Sunday for Trott on charges of fourth-degree theft and assault causing bodily injury. The warrant doesn't offer details, but Motsinger said he believed the charge stemmed from an assault on Trott's mother.
When officers arrived, no one came to the door, but they noted movement inside. Officers called in a regional tactical team, set up a perimeter around the house and arranged for negotiators to contact Trott.
When the team approached the home about 1:40 a.m., one shot was fired from inside, striking Buenting.
After the shooting, an Iowa State Patrol tactical team arrived, and Trott surrendered about 5:30 a.m.
Buenting was married with two young children. He had worked for the four-officer Rockwell City Police Department for eight years and had been in law enforcement for 12 years.
Residents in the 1,700-person community struggled to describe their shock at the death of Buenting.
"Jamie was a good one," resident Laura Sahala said, sobbing. Her son attends school with Buenting's children, she said, and she'd known him for years. She described him as kind and eager to chat with people.
"He was an excellent officer," she said.
Dawn Nath, a clerk at a thrift store, said the shooting brought back memories of the May 20 abduction and killing of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard in Dayton, about 30 miles to the east. Although the circumstances behind the deaths are different, Nath said the violence has shaken residents of the area.
"That's why people move to smaller towns, because it's supposed to be safe," she said.
Buenting is the 170th Iowa officer to die in the line of duty, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety records, which date to 1869.
The last Iowa officer shot to death was Keokuk County Sheriff Deputy Eric Stein, 39, on April 4, 2011.
Authorities said Jeffrey Alan Krier, 53, shot Stein when he and two other officers arrived at Krier's Hayesville home to check on him after reports that he'd shot at another family's home. Krier was killed by police after a standoff during which shots were exchanged.
Trott has a history of relatively minor offenses.
He spent two days in jail in 2004 for disorderly conduct, and in September 2007, he was charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment, and then pleaded guilty to another harassment charge in February 2008. He was sentenced to two years prison for each to run consecutively and later placed on probation.
In March 2009 he was charged with a probation violation and sentenced to four years in prison. It appears he was released in January 2011.
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Copyright 2013 Associated Press