DES MOINES — An early morning run-in with security guards at Des Moines Water Works Park last month left an Iowa man with three bullet holes in the radiator of his SUV and a concern for others visiting the park.
Scott Richardson, 50, spent May 13 riding bikes with friends. The group stopped at a downtown bar and restaurant before Richardson returned to Water Works Park at about 1 a.m., three hours after the park had closed.
He loaded his bike onto his 2013 Jeep Wrangler and headed toward the exit. That’s when a car with flashing amber-colored lights pulled in behind him.
He said he did not stop because he assumed it was security — and not law enforcement — “making sure that I exited the park.” He knew he was approaching a gate that had a sensor to open it, so he continued driving.
When Richardson didn’t stop, the car pulled around him and blocked the exit. Two security guards got out of the vehicle.
One of the men fired three rounds from a 9mm handgun into Richardson’s engine. The guards from On Point Security Group, a private company based in Clive, Iowa, later told police they wanted to stop Richardson to tell him the park was closed and his vehicle could have been towed.
Both security guards told police that Richardson “kept coming toward them.” Peter Berger, an attorney representing On Point, said the guards reported that Richardson was “driving out of control.”
Richardson was arrested by police for operating while intoxicated. A preliminary breath test taken on scene showed Richardson’s blood alcohol content at .106. He registered .088 on a second breath test taken an hour later. The legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in Iowa is .08.
Richardson disputes that he was driving fast or erratically, and said he had come to a complete stop before the shots were fired into his car. The police report makes no mention of his driving style.
A Des Moines Police Department spokesman called the shooting questionable, but no charges were filed against the shooter.
Police have forwarded the case to the Polk County attorney, who will decide whether to file charges.
“I don’t know if we have overzealous mall cops taking matters into their own hands, but all indications are that’s exactly what we’re dealing with in this situation,” said Brad Schroeder, a Des Moines attorney representing Richardson. “And it should scare the heck out of everybody.”