A Nebraska officer in Omaha sustained several critical gunshot wounds while responding to a shoplifting call at a department store.
The March 12 incident took place at JC Penney’s, where OPD Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck was dispatched to a report of a shoplifter.
Security at the store reported seeing a man placing clothing in a backpack before attempting to leave.
According to ABC News, the suspect, 21-year-old Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr., reportedly gave a fake name to store security.
Upon arrival, Wittstruck found the situation had escalated.
“Officer Wittstruck directed Jenkins to remove his backpack at which time Jenkins stood up and placed his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket,” said Police Chief Todd Schmaderer of the Omaha Police Department said. “Officer Wittstruck asked Jenkins to show his hands multiple times but Jenkins refused. Officer Wittstruck informed Jenkins he was under arrest and Jenkins remained uncooperative, pushing Officer Wittstruck away while he attempted to place handcuffs on Jenkins.”
Following a short grapple, Wittstruck drew his taser and deployed it as Jenkins produced a weapon from his sweatshirt.
Opening fire, Jenkins landed hits on Wittstruck’s face and other areas.
“Officer Wittstruck fell to the ground and Jenkins ran out of the office,” said Schmaderer. “There were no security cameras in the office but Officer Wittstruck’s body-worn camera recorded the entire incident. Security cameras recorded the suspect fleeing out of the store and driving away in a white BMW.”
Backup soon arrived and Wittstruck was transported to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition.
The Nebraska State Patrol soon found themselves intercepting Jenkins.
“At 5:22pm a Nebraska State Patrol Trooper discovered the suspect vehicle being driven near [a] gas station, a traffic stop was initiated and the vehicle fled at a high rate of speed,” authorities said in a statement. “The suspect vehicle reached speeds in excess of 140mph and continued to drive westbound on I-80 in a reckless manner.”
Following the deployment of spike strips, Jenkins was eventually stopped and captured, along with the Taurus .380 used in the shooting.
Jenkins, who has a lengthy criminal history, will be charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony.
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