Arrest reports and sworn affidavits submitted by law enforcement officers have shed some light on the alleged criminal activity of 44-year-old April Montello-Roberts, who remains in custody at the Pottawattamie County Jail.
Montello-Roberts is facing two counts of murder in the first degree for her role in the slayings of Jerrot Clark last Sunday and Steven Carlson on Wednesday. She is also being charged with robbery and burglary related to Clark and Carlson killings, as well as the attempted murders of Pottawattamie County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Olderog and Council Bluffs Police Officer Colby McCord.
Police reports said Montello-Roberts was driving a green 1997 Dodge Ram pickup truck near County Road L34 and Juniper Road when Olderog attempted to stop the vehicle for suspicious activity and minor traffic violations. The truck’s headlights were off, and it failed to stop at a stop sign. Olderog turned on his lights and siren, but the truck again failed to stop at a stop sign at 205th Street.
Olderog was in pursuit when, according to an affidavit, the passenger began firing shots at Olderog. The deputy said he saw “numerous” muzzle flashes and heard “crackling sounds” on both sides of his police vehicle. Olderog radioed in that shots had been fired, but he lost sight of the pickup truck shortly after the call.
About 25 minutes later, Council Bluffs police officers were on patrol, searching for the suspect vehicle when McCord spotted it on Railroad Highway headed toward Highway 6 in Council Bluffs. McCord gave chase. The passenger of the vehicle, later determined to be 28-year-old Troy Petersen, opened fire again, shooting at McCord several times the affidavit says. McCord’s police cruiser was hit at least three times, as bullet casings were recovered from the radiator and skid plate.
Another Bluffs police officer, Anthony Fletcher, joined the pursuit and stated that he saw about five more muzzle flashes as they trailed Montello-Roberts and Petersen.
The truck crashed at the 1400 block of Indian Hills Road, where McCord and Fletcher were eventually joined by other officers in surrounding the vehicle. A standoff ensued.
Petersen reportedly pointed a rifle at the responding officers, and at times, pointed it at Montello-Roberts during what Council Bluffs Police Chief Tim Carmody said was about two hours of trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender. As time wore on, Petersen reportedly became agitated, and again, began pointing the gun at Montello-Roberts.
One of the officers, a nine-year law enforcement veteran with more than five years on the Emergency Services Team (EST) team, fired one round at Petersen, striking him in the head and killing him at the scene. The name of the officer who killed Petersen has not yet been released.
Carmody said the officer followed police protocol — he neutralized what was thought to be an imminent threat to the lives of officers and deputies on the scene, and the life of Montello-Roberts, who Petersen told police was his hostage.
“Even after they tried to kill Deputy Olderog and attempted to murder Officer McCord they chose not to surrender,” Carmody said during a press conference Thursday. “Instead, Petersen took Montello-Roberts hostage while surrounded by over 20 officers and deputies. Even as officers attempted to negotiate Montello-Roberts’s release, Petersen chose to place a rifle under her chin as if preparing to kill her. It was at that point that one of our EST members fired a single shot, saving Montello-Roberts’s life and ending the deadly force threat.”
After the incident, police began interviewing Montello-Roberts. First thought of as a potential victim of Petersen, investigators now believe she played an equal role in the robbery and murder of Clark at his 2103 Sixth Avenue residence. Police reports say Clark died of a gunshot wound. His phone, wallet, cell phone and keys were missing from the home.
A neighbor of Clark’s said she witnessed a male and female carrying items out of Clark’s home at about noon last Sunday. The description of the female matched that of Montello-Roberts.
During interviews, Montello-Roberts revealed that she and Petersen discussed robbing and killing Clark the day before the alleged murder took place, it stated in an affidavit. A credit card with Clark’s name was reportedly found in the vehicle the pair were driving.
In another affidavit, it said that Montello-Roberts and Petersen allegedly murdered Carlson in the short time frame between Olderog losing sight of the pickup and McCord observed it heading into Council Bluffs.
The affidavit says that Montello-Roberts and Petersen were both armed when they approached Carlson’s residence at 270 Yellow Pole Road. While breaking into the home, Petersen reportedly fired a rifle round through the window into the house, striking Carlson. The man and woman then entered the home looking for hostages, the affidavit said.
After finding no one else at the residence, the two suspects fled.
Though Carmody declined to comment on the nature of the relationship between Montello-Roberts and Petersen, one affidavit said that Montello-Roberts referred to Petersen as her boyfriend.
During the pursuit in which the officers were fired upon, Montello-Roberts admitted to driving the pickup truck as Petersen fired shots out of the back window, an affidavit said.
Chillingly, Montello-Roberts allegedly told police that as Petersen was firing, she was yelling "shoot him, shoot him.”
Bond was set at $2.2 million. Montello-Roberts will appear in court for a preliminary hearing Aug. 16.