A 34-year-old mother-of-three, Autumn Steele, was shot dead by a police officer in front of her child and husband after the officer slipped on ice while trying to shoot the family’s dog. When the office slipped, he fired two shots, one of which hit the woman in the stomach. She would later die from her injuries, but the officer is still on duty as a prosecutor ruled the cop’s actions were “reasonable,” given the situation, and that it was a “tragic accident.”
As the officer approached the heated situation between Autumn and her husband, Gabriel, the family’s German Shepherd can be heard barking and approaches the officer. He tells the woman to “get your dog” before taking aim with his gun. However, as the officer fired his first round at the dog, he slipped on ice and fired a second shot which hit Autumn. As the shots ring out, you can hear Autumn cry out in the background. As the officer stands, the husband and 3-year-old child can be seen staring at the ground where Autumn now lays motionless. The video cuts out as the officer approaches the fatally wounded woman.
Warning: The video below contains images that are graphic in nature and may not be suitable for all viewers.
The video footage clearly shows the officer slipping as his body cam suddenly points skyward. When questioned after the shooting, the officer noted that he was aiming for the dog as it was biting him. However, as he took aim, he slipped on the ice. The dog was struck once in the shoulder and Autumn Steele was struck with the second bullet in the stomach. Though the officer’s bullet ultimately ended Autumn’s life, a prosecutor decided not to press charges, as it was determined that Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill was not at fault and had acted in a “reasonable” manner considering the situation at hand. The prosecutor, Amy Beavers, noted that the situation was a “tragic accident,” but that Hill should not be removed from duty. As a result, Hill returned to work and is still serving in the field as a Burlington Police Officer.
“Based upon my review of the case with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and a full review of the facts and circumstances provided to me concerning the death of Mrs. Autumn Steele, it is determined that no criminal charges against Officer Jesse Hill are supported by the evidence. Officer Hill was faced with the decision to shoot in an instant. He had to process the situation alone, and made the decision at the time the threat was occurring.”
“It was such a long road to just get her. We wanted somebody to listen and they’re listening now and finally hearing. We’re not being told no anymore. We’re not being ignored.”
Do you think the Burlington Police Department should be held liable for Autumn Steele’s accidental death or did the police officer act in a “reasonable” manner considering the situation?
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