Gunman shoots self in Iowa City Court Street parking ramp incident

UI police said a man fled with a woman into the parking ramp and officers attempted to establish communication with the man.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa City Police Department officer Dan Biden shines a flashlight while detective Eric Nieland examines evidence after ICPD was called to the Court Street parking ramp for what started as a welfare check in downtown Iowa City on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. According to a UI Police affidavit, officers received a third-party report that a woman had been forced against her will to go to the bus station by her husband, who allegedly took her from a Cedar Rapids location on Sunday night. After police arrived, Cardale Hunter, 33, pulled out a gun and used the woman as a shield while holding her at gunpoint. According to the City of Iowa City press release, the situation was resolved after the man shot himself, but no other injuries have been reported. Hunter is in stable condition. Hunter is facing charges of second-degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm by a felon, going armed with intent, domestic abuse while displaying a weapon, and child endangerment, according to a UI police release.

DI Staff

Content warning: This article references gun violence and suicide. 

A man is in stable condition after a shooting incident in the Court Street parking ramp just south of downtown Iowa City Monday afternoon.

Law enforcement surrounded the area of the ramp quickly, establishing a one-block perimeter and ordering nearby locations, including the Voxman Music Building, the Element, the Hilton Garden Inn, Chase Bank, and Unimpaired Dry Bar to go on lockdown. 

Map by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

Local fire officials directed traffic and pedestrians away from the area. At 2:17 p.m., UI police reported that first responders were on the scene and asked citizens to avoid the area.

The situation was resolved at 2:50 p.m., according to UI law enforcement, and citizens can resume normal activity.

Police set up in apartments directly across from the Court Street Parking Ramp, including ones located above Estela’s Fresh Mex. Additionally, officers with various guns camped around the side of the Unimpaired Dry Bar and Estela’s Fresh Mex. 

Iowa City Police officers were responding to a welfare check at the bus depot at 2 p.m. when the incident began, according to a press release from the City of Iowa City. The release states the officers received word that the man was “possibly armed and that a woman and children were involved.” 

When officers arrived on the scene, they were met with a man, a woman, and children who were inside the depot. When the man saw Iowa City police officers, he made “threatening comments and fled with the woman into the parking ramp.”

Law enforcement then shut down the area around the parking garage, according to the release.

Shortly after the report from UI police, an Iowa State Trooper arrived. Police on-scene identified him as a negotiator.

At 2:29 p.m., DI reporters heard a single shot fired from an unidentified source and location. 

A video posted on the UI Class of 2026 Snapchat group from the nearby Edge apartment complex contains audio from above the parking garage of a man yelling, “She’s free to go, I’m going to kill myself,” followed by the sound of a gunshot.

Law enforcement officers then entered the parking garage and climbed to the fourth floor. After about 10 minutes, law enforcement exited the building with a person on a stretcher. The stretcher was placed in a Johnson County ambulance, which went west on Burlington Street.

“Despite efforts to de-escalate the situation by crisis negotiators, the man shot himself. Aid was immediately rendered at the scene and the man was taken via ambulance to an area hospital for treatment. The man is in stable condition and no other injuries were reported,” the release states.

The DI accessed the area around the crime scene, which was located on the fourth floor of the parking ramp. Police conducted a 3D scan of the area which contained two trucks and a blue tarp, but little evidence of what had occurred less than an hour earlier could be seen by reporters.

The Iowa City Fire Department, the Johnson County Ambulance Service, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, and the Coralville Police Department also responded to the scene, according to the press release. 

James Curtis, an employee at Unimpaired Dry Bar, said he and his coworkers did not hear the gunshot from inside the restaurant. 

“I know they had a guy [around the corner] with the AR. They had guys up [above Estela’s] with rifles and they had guys in [the Edge] balcony with rifles,” Curtis said. “...We didn't hear any gunshots but we had the building owner and the [Element] hotel manager took a couple of cops back and forth through here up to the parking garage.”

Both Estela’s Fresh Mex and the Element Hotel declined to speak with DI reporters about the incident. Sara Canny, Bookkeeper at the Hilton Garden Inn which is connected to the parking garage, said police told the workers to lock down the hotel.

“The police came in just to make sure that the doors were secured to make sure that everybody's safe but other than that police mostly just left us alone because they were dealing with the issues in the parking garage,” Canny said. “Shortly after things resolved, we did see a gentleman with a very large gun walking past. We're assuming it was a sniper."

Additionally, law enforcement on the scene directed those located in the Voxman Music Building to shelter in place due to the incident at the parking ramp, UI police reported.

Onlookers gathered near the corner of South Clinton Street and Burlington Street to watch the incident as it unfolded.

Michael Keough, a UI third-year student, was heading with a friend to his brother’s apartment at The Edge apartment building but was stopped by police.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “My brother doesn’t know what is going on.”

Evan Saltz, a UI fourth-year student, was walking home from the library to his apartment near Court Street when he saw law enforcement with a gun on top of an apartment balcony above La Wine Bar & Restaurant and about a dozen police cars around the parking ramp. 

“My roommate called me and said you shouldn't walk that way,” he said. “I thought, wow this must be pretty bad.” 

Saltz stood in a group of about 10 people — mostly UI students — on Burlington Street and watched the incident unfold. At a certain point, Saltz said he and the other onlookers heard a gunshot from the parking ramp. During the incident, Saltz said he felt safe. 

“Everyone was calm,” Saltz said. “We’ve all been so desensitized to shootings. Our major reaction was that ‘Oh this is what is going on now.’” 

He added that as a UI student he feels safe, but since the Highland Park parade shooting on July 4, he feels unsafe in classrooms in the case of an active shooter.  

“It’s not an Iowa City problem, it’s an America problem,” Saltz said.  

Kate Perez, Ryan Hansen, Sabine Martin, Cooper Worth, and Chris Werner contributed to this report.