The Omaha police officer shot twice by a shoplifting suspect at Nebraska’s largest mall Friday is stable and recovering, police announced Saturday.
They identified the injured officer, Jeffrey Wittstruck, as well as the suspect, Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr.
Wittstruck and Officer Joseph Kunza were responding to a shoplifting call at a JC Penney’s store at Omaha’s Westroads Mall when Wittstruck went into the store office to interview the suspect, who had already been detained by mall security, police said.
Jenkins allegedly declined to cooperate, answer questions or follow the officer’s instructions, police said.
OMAHA POLICE OFFICER SHOT AT WESTROADS MALL, CONDITION STABLE; SUSPECT IN CUSTODY
Then, when Wittstruck tried to place him in handcuffs, Jenkins allegedly resisted. The officer tried to use his Taser, which failed to knock the suspect down.
Then Jenkins allegedly shot him twice – in the face and the top of his head.
Officer Kunza and store employees rendered first aid and called for backup, police said, as Jenkins allegedly fled in a white sedan.
The entire encounter was recorded by Wittstruck’s bodycam, police said.
State troopers caught up with Jenkins on Interstate 80 and took him into custody after a high-speed chase in which they had to use stop sticks to halt his vehicle. They said they recovered a .380 Taurus pistol in his possession.
Jenkins has a record of resisting arrests and trying to escape, police said.
He faces charges of attempted murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony.
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Late Friday evening, police said Wittstruck was alert and expected to undergo surgery. On Saturday, they said he was stable and recovering.
“Our prayers are with Officer Wittstruck and his family for a full recovery,” Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said in a statement. “It is important to remember the dangers officers put themselves in on each and every call — calls that must be answered because someone was in need.”