At 6:04 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 3, Iowa City Police made a traffic stop in the area of South Riverside Drive and Highway 6 East. During the traffic stop, the driver- later identified as Rick L. Wappler, 41, of Wisconsin - indicated he was armed with a knife.

Wappler fled the scene in the vehicle and a pursuit involving Iowa City police and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office ensued. The pursuit was ended due to the risk to public safety.

At 9:16 p.m., Iowa City Police responded to a report of a hit-and-run crash near 130 Highway 1 W. Witness descriptions matched Wappler and the vehicle he was last seen driving. Officers began searching the area for Wappler. 

At 9:50 p.m., officers were informed via dispatch of a robbery and carjacking in the 100 block of Prairie Hill Lane. Iowa City officers and Johnson County deputies responded to the scene and located Wappler in a vehicle. A stand off ensued and members of the police department's Crisis Negotiation Team communicated with Wappler during the incident. At this time, police learned of an additional break-in involving Wappler that had occurred earlier in the 100 block of Prairie Hill Lane.

After approximately three hours of unsuccessful negotiations, officers attempted to take Wappler into custody. During this exchange, which included less-lethal force options, an Iowa City officer discharged their service weapon once. Wappler was not struck by the discharged weapon and was taken into custody through less-lethal force. Wappler was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

Wappler was transported to the Johnson County Jail Friday and faces the following charges:

The department's use of force will be reviewed by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Additional charges are possible. No further information is available at this time.

Date of publication

Friday, August 05, 2022