Update: Bellevue Officers Cleared in Fatal Shooting

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A Sarpy County grand jury returned no true bill Friday in the fatal shooting of John Tilley.

The jury found no wrongdoing by Bellevue officers James Murray and Zach Stalder. Both are six-year veterans of the department.

The shooting took the life of 48-year-old John Tilley.

Neighbors say they want to set the record straight about a man shot and killed by Bellevue Police over the weekend.

The two officers who shot him are on administrative leave while an internal investigation is under way. That’s standard procedure.


John Tilley

One of the cars John Tilley slammed into on Emiline Street Saturday morning was still on the street Monday but at least two Bellevue vehicles may be totaled as the result of a mini-pursuit that ended at the end of the street.

Bellevue’s Alta Coate told us, “He (Tilley) had said he is going to counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is not who he is."

Coate spent a few hours hanging out with John Tilley on Friday night before all this unfolded just after midnight.

Coate said, "I heard the truck crashing through the fence. Then I heard gunshots. Then I saw the officers still with their weapons drawn. From what I saw later, they had to do what they did."

Bellevue Police thought the problem was resolved after stopping at the veteran's home for a noise complaint but officers returned a short time later and it escalated from there.

Investigators say the 48-year-old took off in his pickup, slamming into cars, weaving through two backyards before ramming into the back of a cruiser. That's when two officers fired, killing him in the driver seat. His accelerator was floored.

Two days later you could still smell the burned rubber on 38th Street. That’s where the suspect's vehicle slammed into the police cruiser. Clearly, he had no intention to stop.

Tilley lived in Bellevue his wife. Neighbors said he was going to school to become a nurse. They say it's not clear what caused him to snap.

Coate said, "I was freaking out, wondering what is going on over there. And then when I came outside after everything had settled down. That's when I recognized the truck. I started crying because that's not how John is. He's a soldier. An American veteran. And something just happened and I don't know what it was."

Jan Nicholas heard seven shots Friday night into Saturday.

“It freaked me out. I thought, my God, my house. I thought they were shooting at my house too. I didn't know about the guy until the lady come over here and told me all about it."

Tilley lived two houses down, on Emiline. His first chance at getting away, he hit the sign and went through the neighbor’s yard. There is turf and fence damage.

Tilley then allegedly drove his pickup truck through the neighbor’s yard, between the house and a swimming pool.

Nicholas said, "He just missed her house. And the baby was sleeping in the bedroom and he would have taken out the whole bedroom and killed the four-year-old."

Tilley only stopped because he slammed into a Bellevue cruiser in front of that house.

Bellevue Police say their investigation is continuing. La Vista Police, Omaha Police and the Sarpy County Sheriff's Officer have assisted. When the investigation is finished, the information will be forwarded to the Sarpy County Attorney's Officer for Grand Jury purposes as required by state law.


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