CENTERVILLE — Law enforcement officers who shot and killed a Centerville man on Nov. 20 acted with legal justification, according to a review by the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

Officers responding to a domestic disturbance call in the 21000 block of 560th Street of rural Centerville ended up fatally shooting 45-year-old Kevin Arbogast. He confronted officers wearing a bulletproof vest, armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, the office said in a letter of determination made public at 11 p.m. Friday.

According to the letter, Arbogast attempted to enlist his 15-year-old son to assist as he knew police were headed toward his residence. The attorney general’s office said Arbogast fired one shot before he was killed by officers, following their multiple attempts to get him to surrender. There were no injuries reported to either his son or officers.

Following the shooting, three officers were placed on critical incident leave. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation was requested to investigate. The attorney general’s office made the final determination regarding justification. All are standard procedures for officer-involved shootings in Iowa.

The involved Centerville police officers were Jacob Downs and Graffe Holmes. Also involved was Appanoose County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Buckallew Jr. Downs has been an officer in Centerville for four years, while Holmes has been with the force for less than a month. Buckallew spent 19 years with the Centerville Police Department and has worked the last two years for the sheriff's office.

Officers were first called by Arbogast‘s wife, Kristen Sheston, at 3:43 p.m. on Nov. 21. Sheston, who lives in Centerville, reported that Arbogast had physically assaulted her and had been drinking.

Downs and Holmes returned to the Centerville Law Center and contacted Arbogast by phone to get his side of the story, the attorney general’s letter said. Arbogast advised he was at his residence outside of Centerville if they wanted to come talk to him.

As officers were on their way to his home, Arbogast, an ex-Marine, awoke his 15-year-old son and told him to put on a bullet proof vest, and assist Arbogast in putting on his. The memo continues that Arbogast told his son to load three different guns.

When officers arrived at the residence, Arbogast’s son answered the door and police asked why he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

”His response was his dad (Arbogast) told him to put it on because something was going to go down,” according to the letter. The son advised officers that Arbogast had an AR-15 rifle with him.

Arbogast then appeared from a nearby shed with an AR-15 rifle pointed at officers. The officers drew their weapons and Arbogast’s son began to beg that his father put the gun down, the letter states.

Arbogast eventually made it to the back of the officers’ patrol car and he used the butt of the rifle to smash out a driver’s side window. The letter of determination from the attorney general’s office noted the vests worn by officers would not stop rifle rounds, and that they feared for their lives.

His rifle still pointed at officers, and after a final warning went unheeded by Arbogast, officers began to fire their weapons. Arbogast was ultimately fatally shot by officers, struck by bullets to the head and lower right torso, according to an autopsy.

The attorney general’s determination concludes the officers ”had no other reasonable choice but to shoot Arbogast. Otherwise, the officers would have been put in harm’s way.”

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office said they consider the matter closed.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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