Law officers from multiple agencies converged in rural Nebraska on Monday after a man exchanged gunfire twice with officers and escaped from a traffic stop by stealing a sheriff’s vehicle.
The man eventually was caught — wounded and suffering from hypothermia — through the use of a helicopter, light armored vehicle and police dog.
The incident began in the evening hours of New Year’s Eve, according to Cody Thomas, a spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol. It occurred about 40 miles north of Grand Island.
A Howard County sheriff’s deputy was attempting a traffic stop north of the small town of Elba when the driver began firing at him. During the exchange of gunfire, the man gained access to the deputy’s vehicle — and the deputy’s shotgun.
The man spun out the cruiser and exchanged gunfire a second time before running away.
At that point, troopers from the Nebraska State Patrol; sheriff’s deputies from Howard County, Merrick County, Valley County and Sherman County; and St. Paul and Scotia police officers, among others, arrived and set up a perimeter. A patrol SWAT unit was called in, and the patrol’s helicopter was deployed.
Elba Fire and Rescue and St. Paul Rescue also assisted.
While the helicopter searched from above, the SWAT team began searching the area in a light armored vehicle. Once they found the man in a creek bed, a State Patrol dog was used to help subdue him.
The shotgun was found at the scene. The suspect, a 30-year-old from Broken Bow, had a gunshot wound to his left forearm and was showing signs of hypothermia.
He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and then flown to St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln. No updated information was immediately available on his condition.
No officers were injured. The State Patrol is leading the investigation. Charges are pending.