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Update: Neighbors Shaken By Gunfire, Standoff

An Omaha neighborhood is still reeling from Friday morning's five-hour standoff that began after a resident stood on his porch firing a rifle.

Police were called to the area shortly after 2 a.m. when 911 received numerous calls of shots being fired.

“911, what emergency are you reporting?”

“I just heard probably five more gunshots. I heard about five minutes ago three or four, I think, and then about when I called just less than a minute ago, another five."

When officers arrived at 12790 Browne Circle near 129th and Fort, they set up a perimeter and contacted or attempted to contact approximately 35-40 residents, either evacuating the residents or asking them to find a safe place in their homes and stay there until the situation was resolved.

One man who heard the commotion described the scene that startled him. “I thought I was dreaming and something woke all of us up and then it was popping like something was knocking on your wall, it was real loud, then the officers came by and said there’s a guy with a rifle so he wants everyone to evacuate,” said John Miller.

Emergency Response Unit officers arrived and began tactical negotiations with the parties inside. Police detonated what they call "flash bangs" inside the residence, devices that use bright light and loud sound to distract and disorient anyone nearby.

Two intoxicated men eventually came out of the house at approximately 7:15 a.m., the owner of the house, 36-year-old Morris Oltman, and a 36-year-old friend. They were taken into custody.

Oltman was arrested for making terroristic threats, discharging projectiles in city limits and obstructing and officer. The friend was released.

It was almost a miracle that no one was hurt or killed during the standoff. Police describe the weapon seized as a Romanian WASR rifle, a version of an AK-47.

Shell casings from the assault rifle littered the northwest Omaha neighborhood. A next-door neighbor said she gave at least 10 to police. Terri Watson lives on the other side of the Oltman home and said the gunfire reminded her of a more tragic gun incident.

“I was at the Westroads for that incident the day that happened so I guess it's kind of a memory of that. I was actually working (at the Westroads that day).”

Laura Ayers was sleeping when she heard the gunshots. "I woke up and heard noises, I thought it was fireworks, looked out my bedroom window, didn’t see anybody at first and then saw the man shooting the weapon in the house, it looked liked he was shooting it through the roof.”

Laura moved her children to the safety of the basement and called 911. The mother of two could not believe what was going on right in front of her. “You actually see the fire from the weapon, it’s not just the sound, you see the sparks from the ammunition.”

Was she you worried about her children’s safety? “Absolutely, all it takes is one bullet to go through the house and really ruin somebody’s life.”

Police used Laura’s home as a command center since she was so close to the action. Now Laura and her neighbors are just trying to return to their normal lives.


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