A man walked into Omaha State Bank after business hours on Nov. 20 and waved a gun around.
The man, as it turns out, was the bank president, who said he was showing off a new pistol with a cool laser pointer.
Now Michael Dahir is on administrative leave as police and the bank's board of directors look into a complaint about his behavior that day.
Karen Cenovic, a vice president and lending officer at the bank, reported the incident to police and the board, saying she felt threatened. Dahir said that he just wanted to show her his new gun and that he did not threaten her.
Bank policy prohibits employees from bringing firearms into the building, said Senior Vice President James McBride.
Police are investigating the incident, and Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine is waiting on the results to decide whether to file charges.
Cenovic, who still works at Omaha State Bank, said in an email Wednesday that she did not intend the police report to be a “formal complaint.”
“The Bank has taken responsibility to investigate the matter, and I am satisfied they are handling it well,” she said.
Both Dahir and Cenovic, in her account to police, agree that the bank president brought a 9mm pistol to the main office at 12100 West Center Road on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
But they differ on the details.
Cenovic, who has worked at the bank only a few months, told police that she and Dahir had argued. Later, after the bank closed, she noticed a laser dot move from her forehead to her chest, then to her computer.
She looked up and saw Dahir pointing the gun at her, she said, according to the police report.
Cenovic, 51, told police that Dahir laughed, showed her the gun wasn't loaded and said he was trying to show off a new toy. But she was left shaken, Cenovic said.
Someone in the bank called 911, and police responded.
Cenovic told the officers that she was not the one who called 911. She did not tell officers what happened, according to the police report, but she reported the matter to the bank's board that evening.
Cenovic said Dahir later called her and left a message saying he was sorry that he had made her uncomfortable.
On Nov. 24, the following Saturday, she went to Central Police Headquarters and filed the report. She told police that she was concerned about retaliation at work.
In an interview with The World-Herald, Dahir said, “There was not a weapon ever brandished in any kind of threatening way, and everybody knew it.” He said Cenovic's report was “sensationalized. It doesn't tell anybody anything. It's just gossip.”
His lawyer, David Domina, said Wednesday that Dahir realizes that bringing the gun into the office was foolish.
“He realizes this may be a lapse in judgment,” Domina said. “He has something new and took it into the bank and showed it, and he wishes he would have never bought it and had left it in the car if he had. He regrets that anybody might have gotten upset or frightened, and he doesn't really think that happened.
“He has made it clear to anybody and everybody that he is willing to or would have immediately (apologized) if he had seen any indication from her that evening that she had been upset. He would have immediately made an amend and tried to make sure she wasn't offended or misunderstood him.”
Domina said Cenovic's report incorrectly makes it sound as though Dahir got the pistol and pointed it at her because of an argument.
“There were no unpleasant words,” Domina said. “There was a question raised by him about a vote she cast on a loan where her assessment of the loan quality was different from the other persons in the meeting,” and Dahir wanted to understand her viewpoint.
Dahir had ordered the new pistol and went to the Guns Unlimited store to buy it around 5 p.m. He said he returned about 6:15 p.m., intending to show the gun to another bank employee, but that employee had left to attend a Creighton University basketball game.
Dahir, 64, said he was particularly excited by the laser pointer, which switches on when you hold the grip of the gun. He showed the gun to two administrative assistants and then walked down a short hallway leading to Cenovic's office and showed it to her.
With her back turned to him, he said, Cenovic saw the laser dot on the wall, but Dahir said it wasn't pointed at her and she saw a “friendly face” when she turned around. Dahir said he didn't aim the pistol or the laser at her.
“It was a very jovial, innocuous, unthreatening atmosphere,” Dahir said. “I wasn't angry at all.”
A silent security video from the bank shows the two apparently laughing and talking in a back hallway just before 7 p.m. that day. Security cameras aren't pointed at Cenovic's office and don't show Dahir with the gun, said McBride, the bank officer.
Sharon Stacy and Alison Ehle, administrative assistants who were working late at the bank, said in interviews that Dahir showed them the gun and its laser pointer and that neither felt threatened. Stacy left before Dahir went into Cenovic's office.
Ehle said she saw Dahir take the gun into the office and heard him say something like, “Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you.”
“I heard her laugh and say, 'No, no, no,'” as though everything was OK, Ehle said. “There was no indication that something serious had happened. Whatever it was, she just kind of laughed it off and didn't seem upset at all.”
Dahir then went back to his office with the pistol, Ehle said. A few minutes later police officers arrived, looked around and left.
Those in the bank said they didn't know who had called 911 and suggested that maybe it was an accidental call, which sometimes happens at the bank because of its dialing system.
Domina said the bank's board asked Dahir to stay away from the bank “while it sorts things out, and it's still in that process.” In April, Omaha State Bank agreed to an operating order and monitoring by federal regulators but expects the order to be lifted this fall.
Bank Chairman David Scott did not return phone messages seeking comment.
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