Lincoln police shooting

Zachary J. Grigsby was fatally shot outside this residence near 73rd and Adams Streets in Lincoln.

Three Lincoln police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing by a Lancaster County grand jury in connection with the fatal shooting of a Central City, Nebraska, man.

Zachary Grigsby, 29, died Nov. 29 after being shot following a struggle with three officers. The grand jury decided Tuesday that the officers had not committed a crime, Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said.

Grigsby had resisted efforts by Sgt. Bradley Junker to place him under arrest. Officers Matthew Gilleland and Angela Morehouse came to Junker’s aid.

Grigsby pulled out a .380-caliber pistol and shot Gilleland in the right arm as he was wrestling with Morehouse, Lincoln Police Chief Jim Peschong has said. Two officers fired a total of eight shots in return, killing Grigsby with either three or four bullets to the head, chest, back and hand.

The fatal encounter unfolded after Junker approached Grigsby as he sat behind the wheel of a car that bore a stolen license plate outside of a home near 73rd and Adams Streets, Peschong said. A routine check revealed that Grigsby was wanted on two felony warrants in Merrick County.

As the two other officers arrived, Junker tried to walk Grigsby to his police cruiser, where the police chief said he assumed that Grigsby would be handcuffed and searched for weapons. But Grigsby said he did not want to go back to jail and began resisting arrest, Peschong said.

Peschong has not identified which two officers fired at Grigsby.

The county attorney said Wednesday that he will honor the chief’s decision not to name the officers.

“The officers have had to go through a lot,” Peschong said Wednesday. “I am balancing the public’s right to know with my concern for the officers. We released the names of the officers involved and I don’t think it’s necessary to say which officers fired their weapons.”

Morehouse and Junker have returned to duty, Peschong said, but Gilleland still is recovering from his injury.

State law requires a grand jury investigation whenever someone dies in custody or while being arrested.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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