Des Moines Business Owner Won't Face Charges Despite Family's Outrage

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Despite the outrage from the family of a man shot while committing a burglary, the owner won’t face any charges. It seems the police investigated and found that it was a clear-cut case of self-defense, apparently based on the state’s Stand Your Ground law.


A Des Moines business owner who fatally shot an intruder in an apparent “stand your ground” case will not face any criminal charges, police said.

The burglary-turned-deadly shooting happened just after 7:15 a.m. Wednesday at Kraft Imports and 5 Star Muffler at 1400 Army Post on the city’s south side.

Police said that the business owner, 67-year-old Thomas Kraft, of Des Moines, discovered the burglary when he arrived at the store and found a pickup truck loaded with his merchandise.

Kraft confronted the suspected burglar, 37-year-old Amund Haarstad, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, who threatened to kill the business owner, detectives said.

Kraft told authorities that he feared for his life and fired a single round into the ground. The bullet ricocheted and struck Haarstad in the head, killing him.

According to Iowa law, people don’t have to retreat before using deadly force if they believe they’re in danger.

Kraft was taken to a nearby hospital for an unrelated medical emergency.

After presenting the evidence to the Polk County Attorney’s Office, it was determined that no charges will be filed in the case.


Now, I’m not a fan of firing a shot into the ground. As a general rule, if you’re justified in pulling the trigger at all, you should use it on the person threatening you. Firing into the ground could embolden the criminal by them assuming, probably correctly, that you’re hesitant to fire on a human being.

That said, Kraft didn’t break the law and was justified in pulling the trigger. Haarstad was a drug addict according to his family, a fact that did little to endear him to anyone, I’m sure. However, we also know that drug addicts can be aggressive when confronted, meaning the threat to Kraft’s life was real.

So, Kraft fired. The fact that the bullet ricocheted and struck Haarstad in the head is weird, but not implausibly so. Regardless, if he was justified to shoot, he was justified to shoot, and the police have already ruled that he was. While Haarstad’s family may think it was premeditated, there’s no evidence to support that other than their own biases.

Personally, I’m glad to see Kraft ruled to have acted in self-defense. I can’t help but think that cases like this will help remind drug addicts that there are alternatives to stealing to support their habit, like getting help and getting clean. Those alternatives tend to not end with the said addict on a slab at the morgue.


I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I generally prefer to be alive and tend to assume that’s true for most people, even drug addicts.

But when you decide to commit crimes and then threaten people, guess what happens? That’s right. You get shot.

Can’t say that I feel bad about it either.

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