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Randall Comly faces federal gun and drug charges after shooting at police

DES MOINES – United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum and Adair County Attorney Melissa S. Larson announced that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Randall Lee Comly with gun and drug crimes, for which Comly faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. These charges stemmed from an October 2019 incident where Comly allegedly shot at, and attempted to kill, four law enforcement officers in Stuart, Iowa.

On October 17, 2019, a Stuart police officer and three Guthrie County deputy sheriffs attempted to serve an arrest warrant for Comly at his apartment in Stuart. Comly allegedly shot repeatedly at the officers, two of whom were wounded during the exchange of gunfire. The government alleges that a search of Comly’s apartment revealed a .22 caliber revolver and methamphetamine under the bed in the room where Comly barricaded himself.

As a result of these alleged crimes, Comly is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm; possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it; and possessing, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. If convicted, Comly faces at least 25 years in prison, and up to life in prison. Under federal law, there is no parole.

“Randall Comly is a felon and alleged drug dealer who shot at law enforcement officers who were doing their jobs and protecting our community, said United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. “We will hold him fully accountable for his crimes.”

Comly is currently charged in state court with attempted murder. Those charges will be dismissed without prejudice to allow the federal charges to proceed first.

“An essential role of the county attorney is to pursue criminal cases in order to keep our communities safe, and our office takes that role very seriously,” said Adair County Attorney Melissa S. Larson. “I believe that the decision to step back from pursuing the state charges at this time, in order for the federal case to proceed first, accomplishes this. I am confident that the U.S. Attorney’s office will prosecute their case to the fullest extent of the law.”

Comly has been arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in Des Moines, Iowa. Trial is set for February 3, 2020, before the Honorable Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger, United States District Court Judge. Comly is detained in federal custody pending trial.

The investigation has been conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation; Adair County Sheriff’s Office; Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office; and the Stuart Police Department. The Adair County Attorney’s Office also provided invaluable assistance.

The public is reminded that charges contain only accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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