It’s been 10 years since a distraught man, dressed in full camouflage military fatigues and body armor and equipped with a semi-automatic assault rifle, opened fire on a Mills County Sheriff’s deputy and Glenwood police officer in the darkness of a Glenwood subdivision.
The two law enforcement officers were ambushed by 20-year-old Drew Young shortly after 3:30 a.m. on April 5, 2002, but memories of the incident remain vivid in the mind of Mills County Sheriff Eugene Goos.
Goos, then a deputy, responded jointly with Glenwood officer Gary Chambers to a report of a suicidal subject armed with a shotgun at the home of Young’s former girlfriend in the Glenbrook subdivision. As Goos and Chambers reached the intersection of Glenbrook Drive and Woodlawn Avenue, the two law enforcement officers and their vehicles were pummeled by gunfire from Young, who was standing outside a house armed not with a shotgun, but an AR-15 military assault rifle. Goos was driving the lead vehicle and took the first hits from Young’s weapon.
“I was coming down that road (Woodlawn) and just started making my left turn (onto Glenbrook). About that time, he just opened up on me,” Goos said. “I was hit right off the bat. I had my hand up on the steering wheel and it just went flying off, squirting blood everywhere. The (K-9) dog was in the back seat. The dog’s barking and screaming was horrid.”
With glass shattering, blood flying and gunfire blasting in his ears, Goos managed to escape the onslaught by leaning over and flooring the gas pedal on his cruiser.
“I leaned to my right in the seat and he started shooting through the passenger side,” Goos said. “ When it first started, I had the sense that he was running along side me. I never actually saw him.
“Time slowed down. It seemed like it took forever to get down that street.”
As he maneuvered his vehicle away from the gunfire, Goos was able to look up long enough to avoid striking a van parked on the street. He proceeded to 6th Street to get further away from the line of fire. At that point, he reported his location to the Mills County Communications Center and got out of his vehicle to conduct a self-assessment.
“I walked around the vehicle and checked on the dog. He was still going crazy. I didn’t want to pop the door and risk him getting out with no handler there, because he was ready to eat somebody,” Goos recalled. “I couldn’t handle him because this (left) hand was pretty much done for and my ears were ringing something fierce.”
Goos lost a portion of his left thumb in the shooting, was struck in the shoulder and was grazed on the side of his head by the gunfire.
“It never really hurt, it just burned like crazy,” he said.
Goos and Chambers were the only two law enforcement officers on duty at the time of the incident. After Young began firing his weapon, Chambers immediately stopped and exited his cruiser. Several rounds of gunfire passed completely through Chambers’ cruiser, entering through the windshield and exiting through what was left of the back window.
Chambers, wearing a bright yellow “Police” polo shirt and armed with a handgun, took cover in a nearby yard. He shut off his radio because he didn’t want to give away his location to Young, who was maneuvering between yards and parked cars and had started spraying random gunfire into houses and vehicles along Glenbrook Drive.
Meanwhile, back at the intersection of 6th and Glenbrook, Goos was waiting for an ambulance to arrive. He was bleeding profusely and unable to communicate with Chambers. Before the ambulance arrived, Goos was approached by paramedic Steve McGoldrick, who had come to the scene in his private vehicle after hearing a call on his pager.
“A paramedic showed up and I had my gun pointed at him,” Goos said. “I wasn’t sure who he was.”
The ambulance showed up minutes later and Goos was transported to an Omaha hospital for treatment of his injuries.
With no other Mills County law enforcement officers on duty, and the lone dispatcher working at the communications center trying to monitor the intense situation while being flooded with calls from residents in the Glenbrook neighborhood, Chambers was left in a one-on-one situation with the heavily-armed shooter. Their standoff lasted for several minutes until Young’s father arrived on the scene.
Upon his arrival, Ed Young pleaded with his son to stop shooting and lay down his weapon. Ed Young eventually grabbed Drew Young, took away his gun and laid on top of his son. After being subdued by his father, Drew Young was handcuffed by Chambers.
Ed Young later testified at his son’s trial that he got on top of Drew so that officers wouldn’t fire their weapons.
The first back-up officer, a deputy from Pottwattamie County, didn’t arrive at the scene until 4 a.m., one minute after Chambers had notified the communications center that the subject was in custody. At 4:01 a.m., Mills County Sheriff Mack Taylor arrived at the scene from his home along with a deputy from Fremont County. The first back-up city officer, Pat Martin, arrived from his home at 4:21. a.m.
The shooting was not only a traumatic event for the Mills County law enforcement community, but also a learning experience. The incident raised questions about staffing, communications, officer safety and weapons.
Goos said he never had thoughts of leaving law enforcement after being shot, but admits it took time to recover from the physical and emotional scars left by the incident, which marked the first and only time a Mills County law enforcement officer has been shot in the line of duty. Goos is grateful former sheriff Taylor encouraged him “to get right back in the saddle” after he had recovered from his injuries.
“Subconsciously, I probably do some things differently now,” Goos said, noting that domestic cases often turn out to be some of the most dangerous calls an officer is asked to respond to. “You don’t want to get in a hurry. Assess a situation a little more thoroughly. Get as much information as you can and don’t always rely on your caller being right about what type of weapon a person has.”
Goos pointed out one of his first acts after being sworn in as sheriff was to upgrade the weapons for his deputies.
“At that time (of shooting), we had no way of alleviating that threat that comes with somebody having a rifle,” he said. “When I became sheriff, the first thing I did was get everybody a semiautomatic .223 assault rifle. At least we’d have a chance to engage an individual at a distance instead of with a close-quarter weapon.”
In an interview last week, Goos said he was well aware that the 10th anniversary of the April 5, 2002, shooting was approaching. For more than one reason, it’s a date he’ll never forget.
“It (the shooting) happened on my daughter’s ninth birthday,” the sheriff said.
Nearly 10 months after ambushing Goos and Chambers, Drew Young was found guilty by Mills County District Court Judge J.C. Irvin of attempted murder, assault with intent to inflict serious injury and willful injury. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
During his trial, Drew Young’s attorney, James Martin Davis, painted a picture of a troubled young man who hated himself for becoming addicted to child pornography.
“We’ve got a sick little puppy and that’s all he is,” Davis said of his client. “He was trying to kill himself in a police-assisted suicide.”
Drew Young testified he couldn’t kill himself because his family wouldn’t be eligible to receive a $250,000 life insurance policy from the Iowa Army National Guard, of which he was a member.
Goos said Drew Young, who is now 30, is currently housed at a state correctional facility in Anamosa and is eligible for release in 2023.
Chambers, who eventually left the Glenwood Police Department, continues to work in law enforcement as a police officer in Carter Lake.