Urbandale, Iowa police officer Justin Martin was one of two police officers killed in an ambush-style attack early Wednesday morning in the Des Moines area. Authorities have identified the suspect as 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene. The other officer killed was Des Moines Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Beminio.
Police say that the two officers were killed in separate shootings about 20 minutes apart in Urbandale and Des Moines. They were both shot while sitting in their patrol vehicles, which were found covered with bullets. No others were injured in the shootings.
Martin was killed before 1:06 a.m., when police responded to a report of gunfire at 70th Street and Aurora Avenue. Beminio was hot at around 1:26 a.m., about two miles from the scene were Martin was found, police say.
Greene was arrested at 9:30 a.m. local time, just two hours after police identified him as the suspect. He was arrested in Redfield, Iowa, about 35 miles from the scene of the second shooting, reports the Des Moines Register.
Here is what we know about Martin.
1. Martin & Beminio Graduated From the Same College, 14 Years Apart
Martin and Beminio were both graduates of Simpson College, The Simpsonian reports. Beminio graduated in 2001 and joined the Des Moines police force in 2005. The 24-year-old Martin graduated in 2015 and joined the Urbandale Police Force the same year.
“While information is still coming forth regarding these events, we know that members of our campus community are affected by this tragedy,” Simpson College chaplain Mara Bailey said in an email to Simpson students.
Westminister Presbyterian Church in Des Moines will hold a memorial service at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
According to Simpson College, Martin obtained an internship with the Urbandale Police Department while still at Simpson and was offered a position after graduating. Martin earned a degree in Criminal Justice.
“Justin Martin is absolutely the best representation of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department and Simpson College,” said Samantha O’Hara, assistant professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice. “When he was in our classes, he always had a quick, ready smile and a positive vibe.”
“He was a kind, gentle, compassionate man who was always concerned with serving the public,” professor Fred Jones said. “That’s why he went into police work. He was smart and had great social skills. He just had it all.”
Martin graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton High School.
2. 2 Des Moines Police Officers Were Killed in March by a Wrong-Way Driver & Martin Was in the Funeral Procession
This is the second tragedy to strike Des Moines area police this year. In March, Des Moines police officers Carlos Puente Morales and Susan Ferrell were killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 80, Patch.com reports.
Martin and other Urbandale police officers paid tribute to Morales and Ferrell by joining the funeral procession. Martin posted a picture on his Facebook page during the funeral. He wrote:
Beyond proud and honored to be in this profession. It breaks my heart we had to lose two members of this amazing family. RIP Susan and Carlos
3. Martin Is the First Urbandale Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty
Urbandale Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Underwood said in a press conference that Martin is likely the first Urbandale police officer shot in the line of duty, reports the Des Moines Register.
However, this is not the first time police have been involved in a shooting in Urbandale this year. During a press conference this morning, Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg recalled an incident in February that involved three police officers.
“We had a close call earlier this year with an officer-involved shooting and this time, my worst fear has been realized because we had an officer fall in the line of duty,” Andweg said.
“The puzzling thing about this is that (Officer Martin) didn’t have any idea or warning or fear that anything was wrong,” Urbandale police Chief Ross McCarty told the Des Moines Register. “We’re assuming (Greene) walked up on foot.”
The Des Moines Register reports that three Urbandale police officers were involved in a shooing at a Holiday Inn on February 13. Ali Eisa Abdalla Yahia was killed during an incident with police, in which he shot at the officers while resisting arrest.
A grand jury decided not to indict Sgt. Jeff Casey and Officer Anthony Brooks, ruling that their use of deadly force was justified. Officer Justice Weaver was also at the scene, but did not fire her weapon.
4. Greene Is Also From Urbandale & Had an Altercation With Police in October
Greene also lives in Urbandale and is the same man who made a YouTube video called “Police Abuse, Civil Rights Violation at Urbandale High School 10/14/16.” He wrote in the description that, “This is an assault on a person exercising his constitution rights on free speech!”
He also posted a photo on YouTube, in which he is holding a Confederate Battle Flag. That video is titled “Civil Rights Violation at Urbandale High School 10/14/16.”
Police and school district officials confirmed to the Des Moines Register that Greene was removed from the Urbandale High School football stadium that day. The stadium is at the intersection where one of the officers was found dead.
Greene also has a criminal record and a history of run-ins with the law. He was sentenced to a year of probation in 2014 after being convicted of harassment. He was accused of calling a man the “n-word.”
He was also arrested in 2001 and 2010. Charges were dropped in both cases, according to court records.
5. Martin’s Last Facebook Post Was a Tribute to Another Officer Killed in the Line of Duty
Martin’s last Facebook post was on September 13 and was a tribute to Rockwell City Police Officer Jamie Buenting, who was killed in the line of duty three years ago. Martin wrote that he met Buenting and learned some of the skills he needed as a police officer from him.
I wasn’t as fortunate to know Jamie as well as some of my friends. However, I was lucky enough to be able to be taught by him on how to use a handgun (skills I still carry today in my career), and hear about his passion for law enforcement in the community. Just those few hours with him made me more eager to become a police officer. Unfortunately this job doesn’t come without real danger, and an ultimate sacrifice was made three years ago. Calhoun County lost a man of many honorable titles, and a true guardian of the community. I’ll never forget that smile. Rest Easy.