Breckenridge Estates Residents React with Shock, Concern to Last Night's Shooting

The usually quiet trailer court community in rural Johnson County had its sense of safety shattered by a shooting Thursday night by undercover drug enforcement agents.

Breckenridge Estates Trailer Court, a usually tranquil trailer court neighborhood across from a farm field in unincorporated Johnson County, had its sense of security rattled Thursday evening.

One person was killed and another injured  at Trailer 7C in the trailer court situated between Iowa City and West Liberty.

For Irma Garcia, 32, who lives a few trailers down from where the shooting took place, it was enough to make her doubt some of her neighbors for the first time.

"I've been here for 14 years and nothing like this has ever happened here before," Garcia said. "It does make you feel worried, because all of a sudden you can't trust people anymore."

Garcia said it is not uncommon for the children of the many Hispanic families who live in the trailer court to play together along the main street outside the trailer where the shootings took place. As police roped off the area Friday afternoon, children still were playing in the yards of trailers nearby. Meanwhile, she said, her brother, who lives in a trailer right across from 7C, was unable to sleep all night due to the shock of the incident.

What is uncommon, however, is the sound of gunshots.

"People are saying they thought they were fireworks," Garcia said.

According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, two state agents with the Division of Narcotics Enforcement who are assigned to the Johnson County Drug Task Force were conducting an undercover investigation at Trailer 7C at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

After an altercation between the unidentified occupants of the trailer and the officers, shots were fired, killing one person and sending another for treatment at a hospital. The two agents were uninjured in the incident, according to the release.

Most of the residents spoken to Friday said the parties involved were strangers who were not normal residents of the trailer court. Garcia said there was some concern in the neighborhood that associates of the people involved in the shooting could return to Breckenridge later.

Residents with accounts of the incident described the people who were shot ending up outside the trailer, with one dying outside and another running through the court before being taken to the hospital. An exact account was still unclear, however, as it was garbled by rumors that spread throughout the community.

Brad Martin, 50, said he came to the scene of the crime soon after the shooting, and already children gathering around the officers at the scene were spreading exaggerated accounts of what had happened.

Martin, who moved to Breckenridge with his wife after living in Cedar Rapids, agreed with the sentiment that the incident was out of character for Breckenridge.

"It's normally nice, quiet, and calm out here, that's why I moved out here in the first place," Martin said. "I love living out here, I really do."

Names of the suspects and the officers are being withheld pending family notification and further investigation. A press conference on the shooting has been scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon at the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.


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