MASON CITY | The railroad officer involved in a shooting Nov. 29 in Mason City has been placed on administrative leave throughout the investigation, officials say.
Union Pacific Special Agent Louis Miner stopped Nathan Lee Olson, 30, of Mason City, for trespassing across Union Pacific property and an altercation ensued, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
Miner shot Olson near a railroad crossing in the 900 block of Ninth Street Northwest, officials say. He is on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation by Iowa DCI, Union Pacific Railroad Corporate Communications Senior Director Raquel Espinoza said.
No charges have been filed in connection with the shooting, which authorities say remains under investigation. Upon completion, the DCI will forward the results of the investigation to the Cerro Gordo County Attorney’s Office for review.
Olson is still hospitalized and is listed in fair condition as of Friday afternoon, according to a Mercy spokeswoman.
Police haven't released information regarding the extent of his injuries. Miner was evaluated for minor injuries.
“Our policy states agents will use reasonable force to protect the life of the agent or another person and effectively bring an incident under control,” Espinoza said. “Agents have faced situations requiring the use of force this year. However, these did not involve a firearm.”
Espinoza said Miner was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, but his vehicle was equipped with a forward-facing camera. His vehicle was not marked as a police car, but he was in uniform at the time, according to Espinoza.
According to Union Pacific’s job description, special agents must have graduated from an accredited police academy and must have three years’ experience in a public law enforcement agency or military police.
They are sworn police officers in their respective states and carry firearms as well as pepper spray, Tasers and batons as they patrol rail properties across the Midwest.
Union Pacific Special Agents, or railroad police, are tasked with investigating crimes against the railroad that include trespassing, theft of railroad property, threats of terrorism and derailments.
They also monitor driver and pedestrian behavior around the tracks, among other duties, and have the power to arrest people and issue citations.
Union Pacific's police department is staffed with more than 175 special agents, who are responsible for all Union Pacific locations across 32,000 miles of track in 23 states.
“Union Pacific’s top priority is to safely operate trains in the communities we serve,” Espinoza said. “While road authorities determine if public railroad crossings have warning signs or active signals, Union Pacific does place no trespassing on our property.”
She noted the Ninth Street crossing, which closed in May, is barricaded and has no trespassing signs.
“If someone ignores railroad warning signs and signals, they are reminded to follow rail-related traffic laws,” Espinoza said. “In some cases, people receive citations for disregarding rail safety laws. We also conduct these activities in conjunction with state and local police.”
Union Pacific’s safety managers and employees conduct rail safety presentations to address the dangers of walking or driving around the tracks as well as how to safely live and work around railroad tracks, Espinoza said, as the leading cause of rail-related fatalities involve pedestrians.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636.