Omaha police officer in stable condition after shoplifting suspect, 21, shoots him in the face
A Nebraska police officer is in stable condition after a shoplifting suspect shot him in the face and head on Friday at a JC Penney department store in an Omaha mall.
Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr., 21, was arrested after a high-speed hunt and charged with attempted murder and the use of a gun to commit a crime after allegedly shooting four times at Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck when he was found shoplifting on Westroads Mall Omaha.
Wittstruck had been sent to JC Penney at 3:27 p.m. after Jenkins was arrested by store security after allegedly being caught stuffing a packet of T-shirts into his backpack, police officers said in a press release.
Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr., 21, who appears in the security photo of the Westroads Mall in Omaha, was arrested after a high-speed hunt and charged with attempted murder and the use of a weapon to commit a crime
Jenkins, right, reportedly shot four times at Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck, left, when he was caught stuffing a packet of T-shirts into his backpack in the Westroads Mall in Omaha
Police posted a screenshot with body cameras showing Jenkins with the gun
Jenkins reportedly disobeyed orders to take his hands out of sweatshirt pockets while he was incarcerated
A still from security footage released by police officers allegedly shows Jenkins fleeing the scene in a white BMW
When the police arrived, Jenkins – who allegedly had given the security of the store a false name – was sitting in a chair in the security office and was not cooperating with the police.
Wittstruck ordered him to take off his backpack and Jenkins got up and stuffed his right hand into his sweatshirt pocket.
The policeman, who has been with the Omaha Police Department since September 2016, then ordered Jenkins to show his hands “multiple times,” but he refused, officials said.
Wittstruck told Jenkins he was arrested and tried to handcuff him but was pushed by the suspect and started a brief fight.
The cop pulled out his taser and used it at Jenkins, but it was ineffective, officials said.
Jenkins allegedly pulled a gun from his sweatshirt pocket and shot Wittstruck four times – hit him in the face and on the top of his head. Wittstruck’s gun had not been removed from the holster and was not fired.
The suspect then ran out of the security office and fled in a white BMW when Wittstruck fell to the ground, the police said.
Nebraska State Troopers found the car near a pump and pantry gas station and tried to obstruction, but Jenkins put them on a high speed chase that reached speeds in excess of 140 mph.
The soldiers successfully used stopping sticks, dropped Jenkins’ tires on I-80, and arrested him.
Chief Todd Schmaderer speaks to the media outside JC Penney where one of his officers was shot four times in the face and in the head
The suspect fled the shopping center in a white BMW when Wittstruck fell to the ground
Cops found a Taurus .380 semi-automatic small car gun in his possession, they said.
Footage captured by WOWT shows the suspect’s car sitting on train tracks off the highway and a photo obtained from the point of sale shows Jenkins with his hands raised in an orange shirt while soldiers make their arrest.
Back at the mall, Officer Joseph Kunza arrived and helped JC Penney staff assist the injured officer until he was brought to Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition by Omaha Fire Department medics.
Wittstruck is now in stable condition and is recovering from his injuries, officials said. KETV reported that he needed an operation.
When Jenkins got to police headquarters, he began to complain of a minor leg injury and was being looked after by medics, police officers said.
Since then, a GoFundMe has been launched to help Officer Wittstruck’s family.
Omaha Police and Nebraska State Patrol respond to the scene where a shoplifting suspect allegedly shot an officer in the face
The Westroads Mall pictured was also the site of a mass shooting in December 2007 in which 19-year-old Robert Hawkins shot and killed eight people
‘We are incredibly blessed to have such an amazing and supportive community! Thank you for blessing us during this challenging time. Jeff is in a good mood as he rests and heals in the hospital. We are grateful to God that He watches over him. Thank you again, ”wrote his wife Kelsey Wittstruck in an update to the fundraiser.
Trevor Benson, who organized the fund on behalf of Kelsey Wittstruck, wrote: “He is a loving husband and father of three beautiful children. The officer is a dedicated Christian with a love for his career, his family, and God. ‘
The shooting was captured on Wittstruck’s body camera and police posted screenshots of Jenkins who allegedly held the gun.
Surveillance cameras from the mall caught Jenkins allegedly walking with his backpack while wearing a blue hoodie and walking in a white BMW.
Jenkins has resisted arrests and escape in the past, police said.
“We pray with Officer Wittstruck and his family for a full recovery. On behalf of all Omaha police officers, thank you for your support and concern, ”said Chief Todd Schmaderer.
Omaha police officers answer 911 calls throughout the day to keep Omaha safe. It is important to remember the dangers officers face every time they call. Calls that need to be answered because someone has been in need. ‘
WOWT found that there were mass shootings at Westroads Mall in December 2007 in which 19-year-old Robert Hawkins shot eight people and wounded four others in the mall’s Von Maur department store before shooting himself.