Update: Payton Benson's Family Speaks Out

By: John Chapman, Chase Moffitt Email
By: John Chapman, Chase Moffitt Email
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A tearful Tabatha Manning spoke out Thursday afternoon on the shooting death of her daughter and spoke of forgiveness.

"I would like to ask the community to help me in forgiving those who are responsible for this. I don't want any retaliation," she said.

Tabatha spoke of her daughter's soft voice and smile and said, "I really miss her."

Tabatha said her daughter loved makeup, loved to play Barbies and was looking forward to going to school.

Marvin Benson

Payton's father, Marvin Benson said, "I just want my baby back. That's it."

"Tabatha added, "I don't want to mourn. I want to celebrate her life."

Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray Ben Gray, a relative of the family, said the best way to honor Payton is to continue to build this community.

Gray said, "We're confident that justice is going to be served and we're not going to hate. We're not going to hate."

In one of many poignant moments during the family's news conference, Payton's six-year-old brother said it's, "not fair people are dying. It's not fair."

A memorial fund has been set up to help the family. It is the Payton Benson Memorial Fund at American National Bank. Donations can be made at any of their branches.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday that his investigators are going to give high priority to solving the murder of a five-year-old child, "leaving no stone unturned to solve this homicide."

Payton Benson was the victim of a stray bullet, not the intended target. The bullet was reportedly meant for someone standing on the street and the police chief says it was fired from a city block away.

Regardless of intent, Schmaderer said, "This case is clearly a criminal homicide."

It happened near North 45th Street and Bedford Avenue around 9:45 a.m.

Payton's parents are identified as Tabatha Manning and Marvin Benson. The family had just moved to Omaha. Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray says the girl's father is his nephew.

A relative told WOWT 6 News it was a drive-by shooting and he heard about 20 shots fired from a passing vehicle aimed at someone running down the street.

Nick Todd lives nearby and he said, "What I heard was just massive amounts of gunfire. Both guns had to be completely unloaded. Uh, it, both guns were very large guns. They weren't small guns."

Authorities agree that several guns were fired during the incident.

Police believe they have located an SUV used by the men who were pulling the triggers. They want to identify them. They're looking for three suspects.

Vehicle Sought

The vehicle pictured on the left was located by police Wednesday afternoon at 61st and Spencer, in the parking lot of St James Manor.

The picture on the right is a surveillance photo. Investigators believe it's the same vehicle. They would like help in identifying the men in that picture.

Payton Benson was inside her home eating breakfast at the time of the shooting. She was taken to Alegent Creighton Medical Center where she later died.

Massey Allen, a family member of the victim, said, “It makes me so mad right now. She didn’t even start school yet.”

Massey says Payton’s mother couldn’t drive her injured child to the hospital because bullets had flattened a tire on the family’s van.

Mayor Jean Stothert expressed condolences to Payton's family saying, "Your loss is our community's loss."

The police chief then directed a comment to those involved in the shooting. He said, "You know who you are and law enforcement will find out who you are." He urged those involved in the incident to step forward.

Chief Schmaderer said the area where the fatal shooting happened has had recent gang and gun violence leading up to this shooting so they did have increased patrols. Now, he says, there will be even more.

The chief added that he is willing to bring in any resources needed to solve this case. Mayor Stothert backed him on that.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call police at 402-444-5652.

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to a resolution of this case.

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