Things are calm Thursday at Creighton University Medical Center. It was a different story Wednesday when a chain of events led to the police shooting of 39 year old Jeffrey Layten.
Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes says officers had been following several leads following a four hour early morning search for Layten in an area near 72nd and Q Streets.
“They were receiving calls as relatives were all night. We sent cars by 36th and “L” Streets as he indicated he left a weapon there.”
Weapons had been found in and near his wrecked pick up at the Q Street location. That followed a high speed chase that reached speeds of 100 miles an hour in La Vista. Early Wednesday, Layten had assaulted his wife at their Tekamah area home. He had threatened to harm his mother-in-law and sister-in-law who called La Vista police stating Layten was on his way. La Vista police set up surveillance and spotted Layten near one of the in-law’s homes. He was able to get away but later crashed and took off on foot. Four hours later he was spotted at Creighton University Medical Center where he was on a pay phone. Chief Hayes says he was approached by two police officers around just before 9:30.
Four year veteran officer Lee Kerniskey (kern-IS-KEY) fired a taser at Layten as he pulled a 45 caliber handgun.
“Mr. Layten was able to fire his gun at which time Officer Picht and Officer Shinkleberg and Mr. Layten was struck in his upper torso.”
Officer Kernisky was grazed by a bullet on the thigh and Officer Picht was struck on the foot. The other two officers involved have been identified as Sgt. Lori Schenkelberg and Capt. Katherine Belcastro-Gonzales.
Both injured officers were treated and released shortly after the shooting. Layten was rushed into surgery where he died at 2:23pm.
We are also starting to find out more about Jeffrey Layten. He lived between Tekamah and Craig and operated a pheasant hunting outfitter business that was popular with many Omahans, including attorney James Martin Davis.
“He’s always up. He’s always laughing. This is just something that doesn’t compute.”
Other well known people who hunted at Layten’s hunt club include 2nd District Congressman Lee Terry and Senator Ben Nelson.
Family members have no idea as to why Layten was despondent and took such drastic action. There were reports Layten and his wife were estranged and that she was being treated at Creighton University Medical Center after the assault Wednesday morning.