Two officers shot in 24 hours while attempting to arrest an armed suspect – one hit repeatedly in face and head

OMAHA, NE– On Friday, March 12th, an Omaha police officer was shot in the face and on the top of his head after responding to a shoplifting call at a department store. The Omaha Police Department (OPD) has released additional information related to the incident.

According to reports, the incident occurred at 3:27 p.m. at a JC Penney’s department store in Omaha, Nebraska when Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck was dispatched to a report of a shoplifter who had been detained by security after allegedly taking a pack of t-shirts and placing them in his backpack before attempting to leave the store.

The suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Kenya Lamont Jenkins, Jr., initially gave store security a fake name and was not forthcoming or cooperative after being stopped. When Officer Wittstruck arrived on scene, he asked Jenkins to stand up and take off his backpack. 

Jenkins stood up, but instead of taking off his backpack, he put his right hand inside the front pocket of his hoodie sweatshirt. He was told by the officer several times to remove his hand from the inside front pocket of his sweatshirt, but he refused to comply with those verbal instructions. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said in a statement:

“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.”

Officer Wittstruck and Jenkins got into a brief struggle before Wittstruck drew his taser. Jenkins proceeded to place his hand back into his sweatshirt pocket and the officer deployed his taser. However, the taser was ineffective in stopping the situation with Jenkins.

When Officer Wittstruck attempted to arrest Jenkins for a second time, Jenkins pulled a gun out of his sweatshirt pocket and fired four rounds at Wittstruck, who was hit in his face and the top of his head. Schmaderer said in a statement:

“Officer Wittstruck fell to the ground and Jenkins ran out of the office. 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.”

Officer Wittstruck’s firearm was never removed from its holster nor was it fired at any point in the altercation with Jenkins. Jenkins proceeded to flee the scene in a white BMW 530i. With the help of the Nebraska State Patrol, a perimeter was placed around the area to search for Jenkins.

In their statement, authorities said:

“At 5:22 p.m. 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. The suspect vehicle reached speeds in excess of 140 mph and continued to drive westbound on I-80 in a reckless manner.”

Authorities were able to successfully deploy stop sticks on the suspect’s vehicle causing it to eventually become stuck on some railroad tracks before the OPD were able to take Jenkins into custody. 

Officers also located the Taurus .380 firearm that was allegedly used in the shooting against Officer Wittstruck. Authorities said that Jenkins has a “previous history of resisting arrests and escape.” Jenkins will be charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

After Jenkins fled the department store, Officer Joseph Kunza arrived on scene and along with JC Penney employees, provided aid to Officer Wittstruck before he was transported to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition.

Officer Wittstruck is now in stable condition and recovering from the gunshot wounds suffered during the altercation with Jenkins. Schmaderer said in a statement:

“Our prayers are with Officer Wittstruck and his family for a fully recovery. On behalf of all Omaha Police Officers, thank you for the showing of support and concern. Omaha Police Officers answer 911 calls over and over again throughout the day to keep Omaha safe. 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.”

In another, unrelated incident that took place in Nashville also on March 12th, body-cam and dash-cam footage that has been released show an officer-involved shooting that left a 31-year-old woman dead.

The entire incident was captured on video and shows the woman firing the first shots after resisting arrest. The woman, later identified as Nika Holbert, initially complied with the officer’s directions and he radioed that everything was under control.

When the officer attempted to place Holbert under arrest, she began to resist and ran from him. She refused to follow his instructions and ran from the rear of the vehicle to the driver-side door. The officer told her to stop or he would use his taser. 

She did not stop and seated herself in driver-side seat. The officer fired the taser and attempted to remove her from the car by grabbing her left arm, but repeatedly failed to obtain a secure hold.

He then applied the taser in “contact” made to her upper left arm which froze her momentarily, but once the taser was pulled away she immediately began resisting again. The officer backed away from the open driver’s side door and yelled, “Put down the gun ma’am.”

Holbert then fired at the officer causing him to fall backwards onto the ground. The officer took multiple rounds in the torso. One bullet struck him in the side where his ballistic vest did not provide him protection. 

Before falling to the ground, the officer was able to fire his duty weapon and return fire at the woman. When he hit the ground he was able to radio for help and a few second later the women’s vehicle backed out of the parking space to flee the scene.

Just before the car began to back up, Holbert dropped the semi-automatic handgun she used outside the car on to the ground. Holbert ran off the road and crashed into a ditch along side the road about a mile away. She later died in the hospital from her gunshot wounds.

The Nashville officer was hospitalized in stable condition. In both incidents, both officers attempted to use non-lethal force in order to take the person suspected of criminal conduct into custody and both were met with the use of deadly force against them. 

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Officer down: Suspect identified in fatal shooting of cop who was moonlighting as a security guard

March 1st, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The suspect who is allegedly behind the fatal shooting of a Tulane University Police officer moonlighting as a security guard at a high school basketball game, has been identified as 35-year-old John Shallerhorn. 

On the evening of February 26th, 38-year-old Officer Martinus Mitchum was working security during a high school basketball game at George Washington Carver High School. 

Police say that on said evening at approximately 6:30 p.m., Shallerhorn was attempting to enter the school’s gymnasium and had gotten into some sort of a verbal argument with a school staffer. 

Reports indicate that the argument stemmed from Shallerhorn being denied entry into the game due to him allegedly refusing to wear a face covering

Apparently, this verbal spat escalated into some sort of physical altercation between the suspect and the school employee – which is when Officer Mitchum had inserted himself into the matter, in order to break up the fight. 

While Officer Mitchum was escorting Shallerhorn off school grounds, police allege that Shallerhorn produced a firearm and shot Officer Mitchum in the chest – and then proceeded to place the firearm on the ground. 

John Shallerhorn - Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office
John Shallerhorn – Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Deputies from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office just happened to be on site at the school as well, and reportedly took Shallerhorn into custody after the shooting. 

Unfortunately, Officer Mitchum was pronounced deceased after being rushed to a nearby hospital. 

Shallerhorn was booked into jail under one count of first-degree murder of a police officer and one count of armed robbery. However, it’s unclear what the details are regarding the armed robbery portion of the charges. 

The suspect in this case has had some brushes with the law in the past.

Back in 2013, Shallerhorn had plead guilty to disturbing the peace, and was given 30 days of probation for the offense. 

Records also reflect that Shallerhorn was arrested back in August of 2019 for indecent behavior with a juvenile – but prosecutors reportedly refused to pursue the case and dropped the charges three months after Shallerhorn’s arrest. 

Then, in December of 2019, Shallerhorn was charged with obscenity and had reportedly failed to show up for his arraignment date that was scheduled for June 23rd of 2020. 

This is a developing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates on this case. 

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In other news related to recent fallen officers, a police officer in Florida recently passed away after being involved in a single-vehicle crash earlier in February. 

Here’s that recent report. 

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MIAMI, FL – A police officer in Florida has reportedly passed away after he was involved in a single-vehicle crash during the early morning hours of February 21st. 

Officials say that the crash was caused due to a rear tire blowout on the cruiser

According to officials, 43-year-old Miccosukee Police Officer Horacio Sebastián Dominguez was headed westbound on Interstate 75 at around 1:20 a.m., when a rear tire on his patrol vehicle blew out near Mile Marker 51.

Investigators say that the patrol vehicle flipped numerous times after Officer Dominguez had lost control of the cruiser.

During the crash, Officer Dominguez was reportedly ejected from the vehicle, with investigators saying that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. 

Sadly, Officer Dominguez was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Miccosukee Police Department gave the following statement after having confirmed the passing of Officer Dominguez: 

“Officer Horacio Sebastián Dominguez was a dedicated military veteran, marine and soldier, who served his country honorably and recently retired as a staff sergeant with the Army National Guard. He leaves behind a wife and young daughter.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash. 

The Sunshine State has been bearing a proverbial dark cloud as of late with regard to fallen officers killed in vehicular incidents. 

Merely four days prior to the death of Officer Dominguez, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was said to have been killed by a suspected drunk driver. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL – A 30-year-old Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was reportedly killed by a suspected drunk driver during the afternoon of February 17th, according to reports

Officials say that the suspected drunk driver, who is a convicted felon, was said to have been driving on a suspended license at the time of the incident. 

According to details provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Michael Magli was identified as the deputy killed during the February 17th incident. 

Officials say the series of events started when rescue crews had responded to reports of a man, later identified as 33-year-old Robert Holzaepfel, who’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 at a red light. 

When members of said crew had busted open Holzaepfel’s driver’s side window, he’d reportedly woke up and fled the area. 

Deputies who were on the scene attempted to stop Holzaepfel as he was reportedly driving down Keystone Road in a reckless manner. Deputy Magli had reportedly deployed some stop sticks to disable the suspect’s vehicle near Eastlake Road and Forelock Road. 

After said stop sticks were deployed, Holzaepfel was said to have lost control of the vehicle and wound up driving directly into Deputy Magli.

Unfortunately, the deputy was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri described the incident during a press briefing: 

“As Deputy Magli got out of his cruiser, he removed the stop sticks from the rear of the car and then moved to the road so he could deploy the stop sticks.”

“As he was moving to the west on the median, the suspect’s vehicle spun out, flipped over, and very very violently slammed into Deputy Magli and his cruiser.”

“The cruiser did about a 180-degree spinout, Deputy Magli was pinned under the car…and he is deceased.”

According to Sheriff Gualtieri, Holzaepfel was intoxicated during the incident. Reports also showcase that the suspect has 16 prior felony convictions and was driving with a suspended license during the incident. 

Holzaepfel was said to have been taken into custody, with charges against the suspect pending as of this writing. 

Deputy Magli leaves behind a wife and two young children with his passing. He was said to have been with the sheriff’s department for eight years, and is the first line of duty death for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared his condolences on Twitter on the day Deputy Magli passed away: 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Deputy Michael Magli, killed today in the line of duty. [Casey DeSantis] and I are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, as well as the entire [Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office] family. His service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Sheriff Gualtieri described the fallen deputy’s final acts before his death as a means to “protect people”: 

“It was a situation where the person needed to be stopped. Otherwise, he was going to hurt someone else.”

“Deputy Magli was trying to protect people. He was trying to keep others from being hurt by this guy who is driving like a maniac, drunk, reckless, going to hurt somebody so he stepped up like cops do.”

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Author: Jenna Curren

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