IC officials maintain the position that Ped Mall is safe following shooting

After a shooting incident on Jan. 14 and a hostage incident nearby in December 2022, Iowa City officials are maintaining the position that the downtown space is safe for residents and say they are actively working to make it safer.


Ayrton Breckenridge

A police car sits near the entrance of Brother’s Bar and Grill after reports of shots fired near the Pedestrian Mall in Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. No one was injured and officers were able to detain the shooter.

Kate Perez, News Editor

Iowa City and Downtown District officials say downtown and the Pedestrian Mall are safe — and becoming safer — following a shooting in the area on Jan. 14. 

Iowa City police detained a person after multiple shots were fired in the mall. According to a City of Iowa City press release, police responded to a report of an armed subject located at the intersection of East College and South Clinton streets near the opening of the Pedestrian Mall at 3:56 p.m.

RELATED: Arrest made following Ped Mall shooting incident

According to the release, witnesses of the shooting reported multiple shots were fired. 

The Iowa City Police Department revealed via a press release on Jan. 17 that Dante Yance, 29, of Iowa City was arrested in relation to the shooting. He faces three aggravated misdemeanors and a class D felony. 

Additionally, the release states Yance fired multiple rounds of shots from a firearm at an individual also located in the Ped Mall. The rounds struck the Old Capitol Mall, causing property damage. 

Yance “ditched” the firearm in a dumpster behind Brothers Bar and Grill, which is located in the Ped Mall, according to police reports included in the press release.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Iowa City public safety information officer Lee Hermiston said Yance was involved in an altercation with another person when the incident occurred.

“We had more than a dozen Iowa City police officers respond to the scene, including a patrol officer who was in the Ped Mall at the time,” Hermiston said. “Their quick response allowed us to quickly identify and detain the suspect.”

Hermiston was unable to comment on the motive of Yance or if the other individual in the situation had a weapon because that information is a part of the police department’s ongoing investigation.

The incident comes a month after a man held a woman hostage in the Court Street parking ramp, located two blocks from the Ped Mall. Additionally, other instances involving guns have occurred in the area:

The Ped Mall, the Downtown District, and Iowa City are still safe for residents, Hermiston said.

“The Iowa City Police Department routinely dedicates extra resources to the Downtown District to ensure the safety of our community members as well as visitors, and we’re certainly going to continue to do that,” he said. “Downtown residents and patrons are always strongly encouraged to dial 911 or contact the police department directly if they see anything that seems out of place.” 

Nancy Bird, Iowa City Downtown District executive director, said the district offers early trainings, including ALICE trainings, alongside the Iowa City Police Department on what to do in emergencies.

“We do a number of different things to make sure that we keep all of our restaurant and bar owners and retailers up to speed on what they can do to make sure that they’re establishing a safe setting and that their employees,” she said. 

Bird said she feels the downtown is still safe because it experiences heavy foot traffic. She said the more active downtown is, the safer it is for residents. 

Additionally, Bird said the city is working on initiatives to continue making the area safer such as lighting up dimly lit alleyways by installing a light canopy.

“This is something that we always work on, and I think any downtown always works on ways to improve it, make it better, make it beautiful. Make it attractive,” she said. “Those things really matter.”