February 14, 2016

Ongoing stand-off in Omaha residential neighborhood

A large residential area near 140th and Burdette Street in Omaha is blocked off as law enforcement investigates a stand-off situation.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Tom Wheeler says, “About 10:30 we received a phone call from an individual who said he had been shot. He said his girlfriend was inside the residence and that she was being held hostage.  Officers from the Omaha Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff responded.  We sent up a perimeter and we have a hostage negotiator.”

Chief Deputy Wheeler is hoping for a peaceful resolution.

Residents in that neighborhood were told to stay inside their homes and in the basement if at all possible. They are not calling for an evacuation but may if the situation escalates.

Arrest warrant issued for man accused of causing a deadly Omaha accident

A warrant has been issued for a 19 year old Omaha man charged with motor vehicle homicide. Authorities say Eswin Mejia was intoxicated and street racing when he rear ended Sarah Root’s vehicle on January 31st.  She later died at an Omaha hospital.  Police say his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Omaha Police Deputy Chief Dave Baker says Mejia is from Honduras and is in the country illegally. He has been in the U-S four or five years and attended a local school.  The accident investigator did request an immigration detainer be placed on Mejia at the time of arrest due to flight risk.  Deputy Chief Baker says Mejia’s brother posted the required 10% of the $50,000 bond set by a judge prior to that detainer being issued earlier this week.

Mejia failed to show up to a court ordered monitoring program this week. Deputy Chief Baker says, “Our Fugitive Task Force is currently looking for Mejia. They have visited several addressed and visited with family members and known associates for the past several days.  We haven’t located him yet but we are continuing to do so.  We don’t know at this point whether he is still in the city.”

Deputy Chief Baker also stresses that in this type of situation, immigration has nothing to do with the criminal charges Mejia faces. Immigration only plays a role in whether or not the person is a flight risk.

Murder case against Anthony Garcia moves forward

The case against an accused Omaha serial killer Anthony Garcia is moving forward. On Wednesday, attorney’s debated what evidence should be included in his trial.

Garcia’s attorney asked a judge to exclude all graphic photos from the crime scene as well as results of the victim’s autopsies due to concern that could inflame a jury. Garcia’s defense team also asking that all notes and papers removed from Garcia’s home be excluded from the trial.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says that the crime scene photographs are relevant to the case. Judge Duane Doughtery has taken the motions under advisement.

Garcia is accused of killing Thomas Hunter and Shirlee Sherman in 2008 and Dr. Roger Brumback and his wife Mary Brumback in 2013.   All four victims had ties to Creighton University, Garcia’s former employer.  Prosecutors say the murders were revenge for his firing from the Pathology Department.

Omaha man arrested after shooting and stand-off

One man is in custody after a shooting at an Omaha bar and a stand-off with police Wednesday afternoon. Omaha Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker says around 2 p.m. they received a report that shots were fired inside the Parliament Pub near 168th and Wright Street and rushed to the scene.

Deputy Chief Baker says, “They discovered a significant amount of damage at the bar. Nobody was shot. The caller reported that several shots were fired by a white male. He gave the description. Preliminary reports look like he walked into the bar and began firing. We don’t know anything in terms of anything said before or a motive at this time.”

Witnesses were able to give a description of the shooter’s vehicle and they traced the vehicle a resident at the Breckinridge Apartment Complex located at 160th and Elm Street.

Deputy Chief Baker says they located the suspect’s vehicle at the complex and soon after shots were fired at officers from inside the building. Officers took cover but gunfire hit a police cruiser twice. Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies, members of the U-S Marshals Office and ATF arrived at the scene.

Deputy Chief Baker says a negotiator was called in and the suspect surrendered without further incident. The suspect is identified as 63 year old Dwight Rodgers. He will be charged with five counts of attempted murder, terroristic threats, seven counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony and felony criminal mischief.


Strategic Air & Space Museum summer camp program for Nebraska students

The Strategic Air & Space Museum near Ashland announced their lineup of summer “space camps”. Marketing and Public Relations Director Deb Hermann says they have a number of camps available for students of all ages.

Campers entering grades 1-3 are offered one day camps that include Space Adventures, Robotics 101 and Aviation Adventures. Here students can about the solar system and surviving in space to exploring the force of flight.

Campers in grades 4-7 can take part in three day or overnight camps. Hermann says Aim High teaches digital design and participants will build wood planes, rockets and hovercraft. Robotics 201 students explore Lego EV3 Robotics and design their own robot to complete tasks.  The overnight camps include Space Explorer when students look into rocketry, robotics and astronomy.  Both Survival 101 and Survival: Zombie Apocalypse are led by a U-S Army Sergeant who teaches wilderness and survival skills.

Five day camps are available for students in grades 8-12. Hermann says Flight Recruit helps students interested in careers in aviation.  Students will build, test and put their knowledge to work in Robotics 301.  The final course is Mission: Mars where students will learn about the daily lives of astronauts and will design prototypes biospheres and rocketry systems needed to explore the planet.

The registration deadline is May 1st. Information and registration information can be found by logging on to SASMuseum.com/camps or by calling 402-944-3100.