Iowa City Police Credit Community for Saving Officer in Strangling Attack and Providing Tip to Urbandale Man's Arrest

In two different instances, members of the Iowa City community came forward to both stop the brutal assault on Iowa City Police Officer Brian Krei and to help the police find the suspect they were looking for.


Early in the morning on Nov. 18, Iowa City Police Sgt. Brian Krei was on the ground near Burlington Street, bleeding, and struggling for breath.

He was being choked from behind by alleged assailant Branden Plummer, 20, a University of Iowa student from Urbandale who attended Valley High School.

What prevented the situation from being worse? Police training? Assistance from other officers?

No. It was a woman, a random passerby, who came to his aid, shouting at the man to let the officer go.

"Stop. There is blood everywhere. Just let him go," said the woman. "Stop. No. Seriously. Stop. Seriously. You're really drunk. Let him go. Let him go. Stop. Oh my God. I will call 911 ... He is bleeding. Why are you doing this?"

"Stop! Let him go! Stop! Let him go!"

Watch the incident recorded on a police video to the right. Much of the attack occurs off camera but the audio is revealing.

eventually did let him go. And although Krei suffered cuts and bruises, had his head smashed against the ground and briefly fell unconscious, it could have been much worse, said Iowa City Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton.

"She just didn't stand by and call 911, she got in there and tried to help him as best as she could," Brotherton said. "It was extremely important, at that point none of the other officers were aware of what was going on."

Plummer was arrested on Tuesday evening and charged with attempted murder, a Class B felony. He remains in the Johnson County Jail on $100,000 bail and his initial court appearance will be on Dec. 12. Sgt. Krei has since returned to active duty.

Phone calls to a listed number for Plummer's address in Urbandale was disconnected.

Brotherton credited another community assist, a tip for allowing the police to arrest Plummer. On Tuesday afternoon, the police department put up wanted posters offering a reward for information about the assault, with security photos of Plummer posted on them.

An aquaintance of Plummer, , 21, was cited by police for tearing posters down. 

But, just hours later after the attack, one of these posters, at a Kum & Go at 25 W. Burlington Street, was spotted by another who recognized Plummer. This person called in the anonymous tip to police.

"The tip led to the arrest," Brotherton said, saying the tip pointed police in the right direction for the investigation that followed. "There's a lot of police work involved after that tip comes in."


Brotherton said police feel confident that it was Plummer who was at the scene of the assault. She wouldn't reveal some of the evidence police have, but said there was some physical evidence there that tied Plummer to the attack, including a shoe and shirt left nearby.

As for the anonymous tipster, who collected a $2,000 reward from Iowa City Are CrimeStoppers, Brotherton said she could not confirm that person's relationship to Plummer, as the process is set up to be anonymous for a reason.

"As you can see with the , this guy has friends," she said.

Speaking of friends, a friend of Plummers at West Des Moines Valley High School reacted with shock when speaking with the Daily Iowan.

Taylor Webb, 20, was friends with Plummer at Valley High School in West Des Moines and lived with him in Iowa City for two years while attending Kirkwood Community College.

"I know that he's a really good kid, you know, and he means well; he just made a really stupid mistake," Webb said. "I don't think he deserves to go to prison for 25 years."

Webb, who said he still keeps in contact with Plummer, described him as a "really likable guy," adding he "never knew one person who didn't like the kid."

Brotherton said she has not spoken with the woman who called in to the police to help Sgt. Krei, and that her identity will not be disclosed by the police. She said that it is even rare to identify the victim in these cases, but since the victim was a police officer an exception was made.

Maria Houser Conzemius January 05, 2013 at 07:10 PM
I am so proud of the woman who intervened in Branden Plummer's attack on Sgt. Brian Krei. She called 911, told Plummer to stop, and even physically intervened in the attack, if I remember right. Plummer threatened her, but she persevered. Thank goodness for courageous and decent people!


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