When they knocked on the door of an apartment near 24th and Evans Streets late Tuesday, Omaha police investigating a domestic disturbance heard a woman scream and then say, “No, Terry.”
The officers knocked again and repeated that they were police officers. They again heard the woman say, “No, Terry” before they kicked open the door. The officers immediately heard gunfire and moved away from the doorway.
A 57-year-old man then came out of the apartment with a gun in his hand, police said, and two of the three responding officers fired at him. The shots struck and killed Terry Hudson.
Shortly thereafter, the officers found Dana Wells, 58, dead in the apartment from a gunshot wound.
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During the incident, police said, one of the officers was shot in the left leg and taken to the Nebraska Medical Center, where he was treated and released. The police press release doesn’t say who fired the shot that hit the officer, but the only people it mentions firing a gun are the two police officers.
Officer Joshua Ames, a nine-year veteran of the department, was the officer who was shot in the leg. In 2013, he was recognized for outstanding police work.
The other officers were Matthew Ajuoga and Jacob Sunderman, both three-year veterans of the department.
The three officers had gone to the fifth floor of Evans Tower, an Omaha Housing Authority property at 3600 N. 24th St., at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a disturbance involving an armed man. After the shootings, witnesses told investigators that they saw Hudson with a gun shortly before they called 911.
One witness said Hudson and Wells were having a verbal and physical altercation when Hudson retrieved a gun from under a piece of furniture in the apartment. Another witness heard and saw the two arguing in the hallway, during which Hudson placed Wells in a chokehold. The witness reported trying to calm Hudson, but Hudson pointed the gun at the witness and then at Wells, police said.
The witness also heard the officers knocking on the apartment door and heard Hudson yell, “Kill me!” just before the shooting occurred in the hallway, police reported.
The press release noted that all officers involved were wearing body cameras, which were activated and recording during the incident. The camera footage captured Hudson yelling, “Kill me!” as he came out of the apartment, corroborating the statement of the witness, police said.
A small gun was recovered near Hudson’s body, police said.
The incident was the only shooting in which Omaha police officers fired at someone during 2019.
Joanie Poore, CEO of the Omaha Housing Authority, said Hudson didn’t live at Evans Tower, and she didn’t know how he got into the building. The building has a locked door that requires a key card to open, but residents can let in guests.
OHA board member Eric Burgin, who lives in a different OHA tower and is the designated resident representative on the board, visited Evans Tower on Wednesday afternoon. He said he had received many calls from upset and worried residents.
“They don’t feel safe anymore,” Burgin said. “They’re not safe. … We need to do more to secure these buildings, not just this building, but all of them.”
Burgin and an Evans Tower resident said someone had shot at the door of another apartment in Evans Tower about a month ago.
Burgin and the Evans resident, who is in his 60s, said they didn’t know if the door shooting had been reported to police but said the damaged door had been replaced.
Poore said the vast majority of incidents at OHA properties involve people who don’t live in them. She said the agency has been working for several months on increasing security at all OHA properties, including controlling access and adding more cameras.
Police said Officers Ames, Ajuoga and Sunderman have been placed on administrative leave, per departmental policy.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has been briefed on the incident, police said. The Nebraska State Patrol is assisting the Omaha Police Department’s officer-involved investigation team and the homicide unit with the investigation.
State law requires a grand jury investigation of any in-custody death.
More information will be released once an autopsy, ballistic tests and officer interviews are completed, police said.
World-Herald staff writer Christopher Burbach contributed to this report.