Reaction from public and private officials to the fatal shooting of Omaha Police Officer James Wilson Jr.

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Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson: "I'm shocked, devastated. Having young people that age myself, I can only think how the parents must feel. It's senseless. It shows we're not immune.

"What a tragedy for the Police Department, for his family and for everyone in Nebraska. This is a person's life snuffed out because of the cowardly deeds of someone who is simply outside the law.

"No matter how many laws we pass, we're not going to eliminate this sort of thing altogether. The laws (in Nebraska) are pretty strong, but there is a question of whether they are ever strong enough."

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Omaha Mayor Hal Daub: "I am outraged that such a brutal act, such a cold - blooded act could occur. . . . Any type of violence in our community is a tragedy, but what makes this crime more disturbing is that police officers are supposed to be the people that protect us and keep us safe in our city.

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Police Chief James Skinner: "The officers are devastated. The officers are taking it very hard."

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City Prosecutor Marty Conboy: "People don't realize how many people are running around out there who have that kind of mentality. I think maybe they have a better idea now.

"So many people are using weapons all the time on everyone that the danger to police officers is just incredible. So many people have guns, and they're using them.

"This is clearly a cowardly, cold - blooded act. I hope the public gets their eyes opened. The average police officer is frustrated that the system takes for granted the threats, the resistance and the constant abuse that they take as if that's some sort of expected part of the job. This is the worst of that."

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City Councilman Richard Takechi: "I guess it points out that even the simple cases today in our society can result in bizarre actions - actions that show the breakdown of respect for law enforcement and family values.

"There's got to be a hard look at our city in all respects, about how to make it safer and about concentrating on social issues that are causing all of these other problems.

"Even if you put an officer on each corner, you're not going to do anything unless society changes."

Eddie Staton, Mad Dads: Staton, who arrived at 40th and Blondo Streets shortly after Wilson was shot there, said he feared the shooting could set off a war between police and young black males. He said some youths might try to copy the shooting or police might wrongly single out some blacks.

"I hope the police use good, common sense and not go overboard. My heart goes out to the officer and his family, but I hope the police will be as professional as possible.

"Citizens have to stand up for law and order - black or white, it doesn't make any difference. We must find these people and put them behind bars."

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