FOREST CITY – The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is now releasing the names of the officers involved in the October 20, 2011 shooting incident in Forest City, Iowa. The officers have been identified as Special Agent Chris Callaway, Special Agent Steve Peterson, and Forest City Officer Thaddeus Ellenbecker.
On Thursday afternoon, October 20, 2011 DCI agents Callaway and Peterson were conducting an interview of Officer Ellenbecker at the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office regarding an ongoing investigation into a fire that occurred at the Forest City Police Department on October 1, 2011. Following the interview Ellenbecker left the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and returned to his residence in Forest City, located at 806 S. 7th Street. Agents Callaway and Peterson went to Ellenbecker’s residence to check on his welfare and encountered him outside the residence with a weapon. A struggle ensued which resulted in Ellenbecker being shot. Emergency personnel were immediately called to the scene. Ellenbecker was transported to a local hospital and was treated for a non-life threatening injury. The investigation into the shooting incident is ongoing and no further details regarding the incident will be released at this time.
As is required by Department of Public Safety policy, agents Callaway and Peterson have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
On October 21, 2011, Thaddeus Ellenbecker, 34, was charged with Arson in the Second degree and Burglary in the Second degree. Both charges are Class C felonies. In early October, the Forest City Police Department requested DCI assistance regarding an investigation into a fire at the police department that occurred on October 1st, 2011. According to the Arson 2nd criminal complaint, it was determined that Ellenbecker, did unlawfully intentionally place incendiary materials in the Forest City Police Department with the intent to damage or destroy the property. While conducting the fire investigation, information regarding a stolen AR-15 rifle was provided to DCI agents. According to the Burglary 2nd criminal complaint, it was determined that Ellenbecker did unlawfully take possession and control of property of another officer’s Smith & Wesson M & P AR-15 rifle, which belonged to the Forest City Police Department.
Ellenbecker remains in a local hospital at this time and will be booked into the Winnebago County Jail upon his release.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and all suspects are considered innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.