Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer released more details in Tuesday’s officer involved shooting and the injury of an officer on duty.
At 3:54 p.m., three members of the Gang Unit attempted to conduct a traffic stop in northeast Omaha. Body camera footage shows the officers trying to stop the vehicle. The driver, identified as Brandon Richey, drove off as officers walked toward them. The officers returned to their car and followed that vehicle and another attempt to stop it.
Richey stopped at a red light at 30th and Laurel Street. Officer Ken Fortune tried to place Stop Sticks under the rear tires but the vehicle drove off. It stopped after driving a few feet and Officer Fortune again tried to place the Stop Sticks under the front tire. He turned to talk to the passenger, identified as John Ezell Jr., who opened the passenger door and pointed a gun at Officer Fortune. Ezell then fired at Officer Fortune, striking him in his radio microphone before the bullet went into his shoulder. Officer Fortune then fell to the ground. Ezell then got out of the car and fired in the direction of the two other officers who returned fire. Ezell was struck multiple times and fell to the ground. He was then placed into handcuffs and taken into custody. A .38 revolver was found within three yards of where Ezell was handcuffed.
Officer Fortune was able to get up and talked to Richey, who had gotten out of the vehicle with his hands in the air. Officer Fortune was able to handcuff Richey without further incident. Richey told police that he knew there was an unmarked police car behind him and that Ezell had yelled at him to “go” at the time of the traffic stop.
Officer Fortune and Ezell were taken to a hospital. Their injuries are not life threatening.
When he is released from the hospital, Ezell, who is a known gang member and is currently on Federal Probation for Unlawful Transport of a Firearm, will be booked for two counts of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and two counts of use of a weapon to commit a felony. Richey will be charged with accessory to a felony and felony flight to avoid arrest.
The three officers involved will be placed on administrative leave. The investigation is ongoing to include interviews with the officers.