OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha Police Department (OPD) is investigating an officer-involved shooting involving a Douglas County Deputy. Police say the event appears to have been set in motion when an off-duty mall security guard tried to chase down suspected shoplifters.
OPD says the Deputy's statement was consistent with what witnesses described as having occurred.
The Deputy said he believed the SUV driver may have been armed because he saw the driver holding a dark-colored object while the driver's hand was out the window as the SUV was chasing the minivan.
He fired his weapon because he thought the driver of the minivan was trying to hit him.
The minivan driver was been located. His statement was consistent with what others in the minivan described.
The Douglas County Attorney is reviewing the case.
Those suspected in stealing from Oakview Mall will be charged with shoplifting.
OPD's initial release:
Douglas County 911 dispatch received a call on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 10:16 p.m. from a caller who identified himself as an off-duty officer, who was later identified as an off-duty Douglas County Deputy. The Deputy told dispatch he was westbound on Center Street from 144th when he observed a white SUV attempting to run a teal minivan off of the road. Omaha Police district cars were advised and were responding as the moving disturbance continued through the Southwest Precinct, eventually making its way to 156thand S Street where the minivan slowed down enough for three occupants to jump out and run from the area. Responding Omaha Officers did locate all three occupants. A witness told the investigating officers that he saw three individuals exit the minivan and run from the area, and then saw the driver of the minivan accelerate in the direction of the male who was later identified as the Deputy. Another witness stated he heard the male, later identified as the Deputy, yell at the van driver to ‘stop’, but the vehicle continued forward and drove over the median towards S Street. The Deputy, who had a weapon on his person, fired at the minivan. There is no indication at this time that the driver of the minivan was struck by the rounds.
Responding officers transported the three occupants to Omaha Police Central Headquarters for questioning. Investigators learned that the occupants had stolen items from a department store within the Oakview Mall, and a male in plain clothes, later identified as off duty mall security guard William BUDKA-GRAY, 5/11/93, attempted to stop them as they left the area in a minivan. BUDKA-GRAY followed them in his white SUV and at one point during the chase, yelled to them ‘stop or I’ll shoot you’. The three occupants of the minivan all stated they believed BUDKA-GRAY had a gun in his hand and were afraid they were going to be shot. Investigators did not locate a gun on BUDKA-GRAY’s person or in his vehicle.
The occupants that ran from the minivan have been identified as one adult and two juveniles.
At the request of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and because the incident occurred within the jurisdiction of the Omaha Police Department, this incident is being conducted by the Omaha Police Officer Involved Team and the Nebraska State Patrol. This investigation is ongoing. The name of the Deputy is not being released at this time.
BUDKA-GRAY was booked for three counts of terroristic threats.