As Omaha police officers negotiated with an auto theft suspect whom one would shoot dead Thursday night, the suspect said he did not want to return to prison. Time and again, he said he wanted to die.
William A. Adams asked officers on the second floor of a south-central Omaha apartment building what he had to do to get them to shoot him, according to an account of the encounter that police released Friday night.
He put the barrel of a loaded silver handgun in his mouth, under his chin and to his head.
Adams, 33, was shot when he pulled the gun from his mouth and lowered it in the direction of officers in the doorway of the apartment at the Grover Square Apartments at 3712 S. 68th Plaza, police said.
Officer Jordan Brandt fired a rifle at Adams, first from where he had been kneeling in the doorway, then inside.
Adams died at a hospital early Friday. Police did not say how many rounds struck his body or where he was hit.
Brandt has been on the force six years. Three other officers, James Haley, James Holtmeyer and Nicholas Yarpe, were near Brandt at the time he fired, the department said.
Adams was the first person shot by a police officer in Omaha this year. Omaha police shot three people, two of whom held weapons, during 2015. Each died. Grand juries declined to indict the officers, one of whom resigned.
Brandt was placed on paid administrative leave pending probes from the officer-involved investigations team and the internal affairs unit. State law requires that a grand jury review Adams’ killing.
Adams’ encounter with police Thursday began when police connected him to a stolen 2006 Ford Escape.
A man had called 911 to report that he had tracked a stolen car to the area of 14th and B Streets. The man said the vehicle was reported stolen earlier in the day, and it was equipped with a GPS tracking system that allowed him to monitor its location.
Adams was convicted of felonies in Nebraska and Iowa, including theft by receiving, according to court records. He had a 2005 conviction on two counts of third-degree burglary and a 2006 conviction of second-degree theft, both out of Pottawattamie County.
At the time of his death, he faced a raft of charges out of Pottawattamie County in separate cases, including possession of methamphetamine, forgery, first-degree theft, identity theft under $1,000, unlawful possession of a prescription drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and ongoing criminal conduct. Adams appeared to be under the influence of drugs Thursday night, police said. He was displaying erratic behavior, waved the gun in the air and was profusely sweating and pacing. Medical personnel located what they suspected are narcotics in his buttocks, police said. Autopsy and toxicology results are pending.
There was no one in the apartment except him and police when he was shot, but five others had been there.
When police arrived at the apartment investigating the stolen car, a woman who lived there told officers Adams was inside her apartment and had a gun. The female resident said there were other people inside the apartment with Adams. As officers held the apartment door open, two men and two women walked out on their own or were ordered out by officers.
Adams’ brother was also fatally shot by police, in 2010.
Daniel E. Adams Sr., 25, was shot in the chest and stomach near 24th Street and Laurel Avenue. Police said Adams and another man stopped a vehicle on 24th Street near Hartman Avenue and robbed the driver at gunpoint. After a chase, Adams threatened to shoot himself and then pointed his gun at an officer, police said at the time.
“The Omaha Police Department extends its condolences to the family of William Adams,” the department said in its statement Friday.
World-Herald staff writers Emily Nitcher and Andrew J. Nelson contributed to this report.
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