A 32-year-old Columbus man, a suspect in a domestic disturbance call, has been killed in a shootout with law enforcement.
Jason Van Buskirk exchanged gunfire with officers after fleeing from a Nebraska State Patrol trooper very early this morning.
Colfax County Attorney Denise Kracl says a trooper pulled Van Buskirk over after responding to a domestic disturbance complaint. Van Buskirk then shot at the trooper and sped off. The trooper wasn’t injured. Several departments joined in the pursuit, including a state patrol helicopter.
Van Buskirk drove over two spike strips and rammed several law enforcement cars before the fatal firefight.
Kracl says the investigation continues.
“We don’t know who the fatal shot came from. There were several officers on the scene and several officers have been placed on administrative duty with pay,” Kracl tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Only the officers who were involved with the actual shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay.”
Kracl says she is unsure exactly how many officers were involved, but estimates at least nine law enforcement officers from four different departments, including the Nebraska State Patrol, responded.
A grand jury will be convened to investigate the incident, which Kracl says is normal procedure.
“That is correct. Any time a person is in police custody or in law enforcement custody, in this particular situation because law enforcement was in pursuit, that is technically considered in police custody even though the police aren’t directly controlling the behavior of the person that they’re chasing,” according to Kracl.
The domestic disturbance call came in at around 1:30 this morning of a man who had threatened others with a gun. The trooper who initially stopped Van Buskirk lost sight of him as he sped northbound on a county road.
That is when the pursuit began in earnest.
At around 3am, officers located the Van Buskirk’s pick-up on Highway 30 on the east edge of Columbus. Van Buskirk drove over two sets of spike strips, rammed a Platte County Sheriff’s Office patrol unit and crashed into two other law enforcement vehicles before exchanging gunfire with officers.
No officer was injured by gunfire, but a Schuyler police officer hit by flying glass was treated and released from a local hospital.