"Officer down!"

The words, crackling over a police radio, send a chill through law enforcement officers like nothing else.

"You hope it's a false alarm, " said Sgt. Mike Cavanaugh. "Sometimes it is."

Sunday night it wasn't. Jimmy Wilson Jr., a third - generation Omaha police officer, was down, shot in the head before he could get out of his squad car.

"Shock. Disbelief." Those were the reactions of Sgt. Mike Butera when he heard that the stricken officer was the son of his longtime friend and colleague, Jimmy Wilson.

Cavanaugh said: "I knew him since he was about 8 years old."

As Cavanaugh, Butera and dozens of other police searched through the night for suspects, fond remembrance mixed with grim determination in an exhausting, emotional night.

Nothing brings law enforcement officers together like when one of their own is shot. No one wants to rest, or can rest, until whoever was responsible is in police hands.

Sunday night at the Southside Terrace Homes near 29th and S Streets, where the suspects were pursued, officers in uniform huddled with others wearing bulletproof vests over T-shirts along with jeans, shorts, sandals and other attire indicating that they had rushed to the scene on their day off.

Police Chief James Skinner said the shooting was extremely stressful for Wilson's fellow officers. "A lot of them knew Officer Wilson personally, " Skinner said, nodding to the crowd of police.

In addition to dozens of Omaha police, officers from Bellevue, Douglas County and the Nebraska State Patrol joined in the search.

"Many showed up who were off duty, " Sgt. William Muldoon said. "There's a lot of interest in seeing this through."

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