Man shot three times by Cedar Rapids police gives his account

Man shot three times by Cedar Rapids police gives his account (KCRG-TV9, March 31, 2015):

CEDAR RAPIDS — Kyle Orth says he expected a couple of tickets for speeding after he backed his borrowed BMW into a utility pole.

What he got instead was three bullet wounds.

In an interview Tuesday, Orth, 27, once a salesman of the month for Zimmerman Auto Center, said he’s still in shock over his run-in early Sunday with Cedar Rapids police — an incident in which no charges have been brought, but remains under investigation.

“It was stupid,” Orth said. “I was driving fast, but you don’t get shot for driving fast.”

Orth was shot by Officers Jeremy Depies and Brandon Tinta after, authorities have said, police spotted an orange 2015 BMW M4 driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed in the 1000 block of A Avenue NE. The driver went the wrong way down 12th Street NE toward H Avenue. The officers — who were in uniform and a marked car — pursued him.

Police said they caught up with Orth in an alley between Center Point Road and Daniels Street NE. At some point, he backed into a pole, damaging the BMW and injuring a female passenger, who was Orth’s date for the evening.

Officers opened fire when they say Orth drove “in a reckless manner” toward them. Multiple shots were fired.

Orth said he was hit three times — above his left knee, through his left bicep and in his left shoulder. Orth said the bullet to his shoulder grazed him, but the round that entered his leg is embedded and can’t be removed.

Orth said he wouldn’t answer some questions about the incident out of concerns about potential legal proceedings.

However, he did provide some details, including saying that he didn’t see the officers get out of their car and disputing their account that he drove recklessly toward them.

“If I was driving at them in an aggressive manner, at the minimum, I would have hit their car,” said Orth, saying the squad car was parked about 15 feet away. “Honestly … the only thing I was worried about, up until when I got shot, was how am I going to explain backing into a pole to Zimmerman’s? That’s it.”

Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Rick Rahn said Tuesday he couldn’t comment on Orth’s statements while the incident remains under review. He did confirm that investigators have spoken with Orth, however.

“We can’t release anything else until we get things wrapped up,” Rahn said.

Orth was employed by Zimmerman’s at the time of the incident but for the time being has been told to stay home from work. He said he had permission to drive the BMW, which had dealer license plates. Representatives of the Zimmerman Auto Center have not returned multiple messages seeking comment.

Orth said there were no drugs in the car. Although he had been drinking, he said, he wasn’t drunk. Orth said a police breath test showed his blood alcohol content was .065 percent, less than the legal limit of .08.

“They were probably thinking I was drinking or the car was stolen,” Orth said. “It was none of those things.”

While Orth has spoken with investigators about the incident, he has not been charged in connection with it. In fact, he said that when he asked if he was being detained, investigators told him he could go. DCI’s Rahn has said no decision on charges would be made until the incident is reviewed and submitted to the county attorney.

For his part, Orth — who has spent time in prison for burglary — is trying to put the incident behind him.

“I pay my bills,” he said. “I get my daughter. I’m a good dad. I don’t have it all figured out, man, but I’m doing the best I can.”

Orth said he’s not angry about the incident, just confused.

“I didn’t think this was serious,” he said. “If I had my way, I wish it would just go away and I could go back to work.”

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