The man walked out of his front door with a shotgun in his right hand and a toddler in his left arm.
Omaha police officers lined the street in front of his house early Tuesday morning. The man announced that he was a felon and that he had warrants out for his arrest, recalled next-door neighbor Roy Newell, who watched.
Newell said his neighbor yelled that he knew police were going to kill him, and that he was going to take a few of them with him.
At 6:20 a.m., at least four Omaha police officers fired at Tyree Bell, 31. He died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly after he was taken to Creighton University Medical Center.
No one else was injured in the standoff at Bell's home at 3727 N. 42nd St.
The shooting was one of three shootings that kicked off the new year in Omaha.
Police spokeswoman Lt. Darci Tierney said that Bell had made threatening and suicidal statements while holding the toddler after officers were called to the area about 4 a.m. to deal with an “armed disturbance.”
She said that police tried to negotiate with Bell for nearly two hours near the entry of his home and that at least four officers fired when they deemed Bell an immediate threat to themselves and the child.
A woman and another preschool-age child were at the home during at least part of the standoff, Tierney said, but were not harmed.
Police were giving no further details, including whether the woman and children were related to Bell, whether he fired the shotgun or the exact actions he took that prompted the officers to fire.
Chief Todd Schmaderer has scheduled a press conference for this morning.
The four officers were not identified. They were placed on paid leave pending an investigation of Bell's death, which is standard policy when police shoot someone.
Newell, 44, said he woke up early Tuesday to find a line of police vehicles on 42nd Street in front of Bell's home.
Bell was inside, Newell said. Over a bullhorn mounted in one of the cruisers, a police officer told Bell to come out. Bell shouted back that he had a warrant and he was not going to jail. “He came out of the house with a gun in his hand and a baby in his hand,” Newell said.
The police officer told Bell to drop the gun, release the child and surrender.
Bell stepped back into the house, Newell said. Then came gunshots. The glass in the front door shattered. The child, crying, toddled out of the house. A police officer darted forward, grabbed the boy and took him away.
Another neighbor, Christine Harrison, 74, who lives up the street, heard someone screaming: “They shot your son! They shot your son. ...”
Said Harrison: “It's so sad.”
Before the shooting, Newell said he didn't have much contact with Bell, who he said sometimes sat on his front stoop, drinking Seagram's Gin.
Police said their records showed extensive contacts with Bell dating back 15 years, including arrests on suspicion of assault, making terroristic threats and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police cordoned off the block and were investigating the scene most of Tuesday, leaving at nightfall.
The snow that covered the front yard of the single-story postwar ranch house where Bell lived was pockmarked with muddy footprints. Two tossed-away blue medical gloves lay in the snow by the sidewalk. On the tiny front porch, glass from the front door crunched underfoot. No one answered a knock.
Newell said he was sorry his neighbor was killed, but he believes the shooting to be justified.
In the other shootings Tuesday:
» Coleone McCurry, 25, told police who were summoned to Creighton University Medical Center about 3 a.m. that unknown attackers shot him in the area of 16th and Emmet Streets. His injuries were described as not life-threatening.
» About two hours later, police were called to investigate a shooting near 1816 Spencer St. and found Roderick Bass, 30. He was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in critical condition. Hospital officials later declined to update his condition.
Police said Tuesday they had not determined whether the two shootings, within a few blocks of each other, were related.
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