A Douglas County grand jury this morning began investigating seven deaths of people who were in custody or being apprehended, including that of a man who went on a drug-induced shooting spree.
Jorge Abraham Zarazua-Rubio, a 25-year-old illegal immigrant, was shot June 15, after ingesting methamphetamine and opening fire on people he encountered while walking through south Omaha. Bystanders Pascual Bautista-Raymundo, 25, and Anthony Vazzano, 25, were killed and two others injured before Omaha Police Officer Coral Walker fatally shot Zarazua-Rubio.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine will lead grand jurors in their investigation of that shooting and six others.
Under state law, the 16 jurors and three alternates, who meet in secret, must decide whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of officers in:
• The March 8 shooting of Jason Welch, 34, outside a Walgreen's at 51st and Center Streets. Welch died four days after an undercover Omaha police officer shot him as he sat in the passenger seat of the SUV. Police said the SUV driver rammed the SUV into several police vehicles and Welch appeared to be reaching for a gun.
• The Jan. 1 shooting death of Tyree Bell. The 31-year-old was mentally ill and suicidal when police confronted him during a domestic disturbance. Bell held up his 3-year-old son as a shield and later pointed two weapons at officers. Four officers fired at Bell, who died at Creighton University Medical Center.
• The Dec. 29 death of Jonathan Lewis, who died of a heart attack while under supervised care at Lasting Hope Recovery Center.
• The Feb. 15 death of Robert C. Willis, who was suspected of firing shots near 33rd and Ernst Streets. Willis, 31, refused a police officer's commands to stop or drop the weapon — and then fatally shot himself.
• The Feb. 28 death of Justin B. Hogan, who died by hanging himself in jail.
• The June 30 death of David Richardson. Omaha police were called to 18th and Harney Streets about 3 a.m. to a report of a man disoriented and writhing on the ground. Richardson, 25, was handcuffed and taken to a hospital, where he later died. Autopsy results indicated Richardson, who had cocaine in his system, died of drug toxicity.