A police call quickly turned violent Monday when a 20-year-old man was shot multiple times by police and an officer was wounded in the leg.
The man, Monroe G. Evans III, was taken in critical condition to the Nebraska Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. He remained in critical but stable condition Monday night, his father said.
The police officer, Jill Schillerberg, 39, was treated at the medical center and released. She had been struck in the lower left leg.
Police say that Evans exchanged gunfire with officers and that his handgun was recovered at the scene.
Evans’ father, Monroe Evans Jr., said he was surprised that his son would have been involved in the shooting, that he’s had a history of only minor offenses.
He said he was thankful that his son, nicknamed Trey, had survived the shooting and that Schillerberg did not suffer worse injuries.
Evans said a doctor told him that his son had nine bullet wounds, including some that went through his arms.
Police have not said how many times Evans III was shot, except that it was “multiple times.” A witness counted six shots.
Evans Jr. questioned why his son was shot so many time and said he would like to see video.
“I don’t have anything against the police, I just want answers,” he said. “I understand their right to return fire. ... At what point do you stop shooting?”
Police provided this account:
Shortly before 12:55 p.m., police were sent to investigate a report of a suspicious person looking into vehicles and checking for open car doors near 1327 Park Ave.
About 1:10 p.m., two Omaha police officers in a patrol car arrived in the area of 33rd and Jackson Streets. The officers saw a person who matched the description of the man who had been at the Park Avenue address, which is about a mile southeast of Dewey Park.
Almost immediately, the altercation occurred.
About 1:15 p.m., a “help an officer” call went out.
A witness, Greg Powell of Omaha, watched the shooting unfold.
Powell said he was walking east on Turner Boulevard near the park when he saw a female police officer talking to a man. The officer told the man to sit down and get his hands behind his back, Powell said. The man sat down, Powell said, but he didn’t put his hands behind his back. Then, Powell said, the man pulled something out of his jacket or a backpack. The officer then fired at the man six times, Powell said. The man ended up face down on the ground, he said.
Officer Schillerberg was on the ground in the park but later sat up on a stretcher as she was moved to a rescue squad.
Schillerberg has been with the department since December 2000, has served throughout the city and has been a school resource officer. The officer who was with her was Matthew Skradski, 36, who has been with the department for 14 years. The two officers are in the uniform patrol bureau, assigned to the southeast precinct.
Police said they have not yet determined whether one or both of the officers fired their handguns. Ballistic testing will be completed to determine if both officers fired, police said.
The “help an officer” call was canceled about 5 minutes after it went out.
Evans Jr. said he first learned of his son’s injuries and encounter with police about 4 p.m., from a relative. His son already had been named on television but neither he nor his wife had been contacted, the father said.
The parents went to the hospital about 5 p.m. and were able to see their son about 7:30 p.m., according to Evans Jr.
They spoke to him, and he was able to open his eyes and appeared to understand, though he was groggy and unable to speak because of a tube in his mouth, the father said.
Evans III graduated from North High School and was looking for work. The father said he was speculating a lot Monday, trying to figure out what his son might have been thinking. Perhaps he felt pressure about not having a job with a 6-month-old son to support, the father wondered aloud.
“He wasn’t raised that way.”
Evans Jr. said he coached his son in football and basketball and that Evans III was in Boy Scouts.
Traffic on Turner Boulevard and other area streets was blocked off during the investigation. Police interviewed four people who witnessed the altercation.
Workers at Star Auto Repair, where the call about the suspicious person originated, said Monday afternoon that they saw a man wearing a black sweatshirt checking cars along Park Avenue as if he were trying to break into them.
Manuel Zuniga, 29, a mechanic, said he confronted the man as he tried to get into the shop owner’s BMW sedan, which was parked on the street. The man claimed the BMW was his.
“I was trying to tell him it was not his car,” Zuniga said. Zuniga said he told him he would call police.
The man left, walking between buildings on the east side of the street. Zuniga called police. After the shooting, Zuniga was interviewed by detectives at Central Police Headquarters.
Under Omaha Police Department policy, an officer who discharges his or her firearm during an incident is placed on paid administrative leave pending investigations by the Officer-Involved Investigations Team and Internal Affairs. Both officers involved in the Monday shooting have been placed on administrative leave, police said.
World-Herald staff writers Kevin Cole, Alia Conley and Andrew Nelson contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this article listed the wrong name of the park. The article has been updated.