Omaha Police identify a man who was killed in a shootout
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The man who was badly injured in Westroads Mall and shot on Saturday lunchtime died about four hours later. Omaha police later asked for help in identifying “persons of interest” in the case.
On Saturday evening, the police identified the victim as Traquez Swift, 21.
OPD also submitted the photo below, which stated that murder detectives were looking for information about the people in the picture while investigating the murder. Police said that witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting, including anything they might see on social media, should call Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP.
Omaha Police Department homicide officers seek help identifying the individuals in this photo.(Omaha Police Department)
In their previous report on the shooting, OPD said that initial reports indicate that shots were fired on the first floor of the mall near the JCPenney store.
“The investigation shows that this was an isolated incident and not a random attack,” said the OPD press release. “The suspects fled the scene immediately after the shooting.”
Neil Bonacci of the OPD Information Bureau said this afternoon that Omaha police and other authorities were looking for two suspects.
Officers responding to the shooting found a male victim with serious injuries at the scene, Bonacci said. The victim was taken to CHI Bergan Mercy Hospital “as a trauma candidate” and later died of his injuries, police said.
Bonacci said the second victim, a 22-year-old woman, was driven to CHI Immanuel Hospital in a private vehicle, and the afternoon OPD report said she went to the hospital with a gunshot wound and was shot in Westroads. She had a minor leg injury that was not considered life threatening, police said.
“This wasn’t an active shooter situation. However, our department has only handled this with precaution, ”said Neil Bonacci of the OPD Information Office shortly after 2pm
Much of the mall’s parking lot was cleared at 1:35 p.m., and many emergency vehicles were evacuated at 2:22 p.m. when the OPD forensics team arrived at the scene.
Some witnesses were taken downtown to question, Bonacci said. People gathered in the parking lot to process what they saw and heard.
I spoke to several people in the mall who heard the gunshots. They said people were running, falling down the stairs and doing everything they could to get out or find a safe place
– Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) April 17, 2021
The victims were shot outside of JCPenney in “one of the longer corridors” between shops, Bonacci said.
OPD did not have preliminary descriptions of the suspects at the time of Bonacci’s update, but the mall’s video footage showed suspects who fled the mall, Bonacci said.
The police are working to identify the suspects. Any descriptions of the suspects or a vehicle will be distributed to the public as soon as police can, Bonacci said.
Shooting event in the Westroads Mall. One victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Suspects have fled the scene and are at large. As a precaution, OPD searches the entire mall. Please avoid the area. A press release with more information will be sent later.
– Omaha Police Dept (@OmahaPolice) April 17, 2021
It is still unclear what motivated the shooting, police said.
Officials methodically searched the mall, Bonacci said, and people were trapped in various stores during the incident.
“It found that shopping center safety, staff and management did what they were told in these situations: lock your doors and take care not only for yourself but also for the safety of customers” , he said.
Bonacci said detectives were still processing the crime scene so the mall would remain an active crime scene and would remain closed for the rest of the day.
Investigators are browsing security footage and other videos to narrow down information on possible suspects, he said.
Westroads management said the mall would “more than likely” be open during normal business hours on Sundays, according to Bonacci.
In the past few minutes, the parking lot near Von Maur and JC Penney has been cleared. We saw many law enforcement officers leave the area.
There is currently a larger presence near the Von Maur entrance doors. pic.twitter.com/UxcSqgiujY
– Ashly Richardson WOWT (@AshlyWOWT) April 17, 2021
Strong police presence. I spoke to a man whose daughter works in the Old Navy. She heard 7-8 shots fired. Pic.twitter.com/RT1ZxgMDnM
– Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) April 17, 2021
The police were stationed in the same area of the mall just over a month ago. OPD officer Jeffrey Wittstruck is still recovering from a shooting in Westroads Mall on March 12th. Four shots were fired at him, striking his face and the top of his head.
Bonacci said Saturday that the two incidents are unrelated.
“Omaha is safe. As a department, we take a lot of preventive measures, ”he said. “It is unusual and unfortunately only a coincidence that two incidents are so close together.”
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