Omaha police confirmed Thursday that a man who was shot and critically wounded by an officer Wednesday may have fully intended to be shot. Police provided a detailed account of the incident that happened near 124th and Burt.
Police say a woman called 911 around noon saying her son, 28-year-old Oliver Halverson, was on his way to the Bag 'N Save store near 114th and West Dodge Road. She told 911 that he was going to rob the store and force an officer to shoot him.
Police were dispatched to the store and to the area of 124th and Burt where they encountered Halverson walking with a knife. Officers say he refused repeated verbal commands to stop and drop the knife. Officers followed him through neighborhood yards, both on foot and in cruisers.
At one point, police say they attempted to contain him in a back yard while continuing to give loud verbal commands to drop his knife. Police say a cruiser's camera microphones captured those commands.
Officer Doug Johnson deployed his Taser, but Halverson did not respond and continued to hold the knife. "As that officer was trying to load another cartridge to deploy a second Taser, that's when Halverson started approaching Mr. Duncan,” said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer.
Halverson had abruptly turned toward Officer Jarvis Duncan holding the knife high and in a downward stabbing direction. Officer Duncan says he repeated verbal commands to drop the knife before firing his gun when Halverson got within about six feet of him. "Mr. Halverson made some statement to the effect of just go ahead and do it, do it already," said Chief Schmaderer, who believes the officer had no other choice but to shoot him.
Halverson underwent nine hours of surgery and remains in critical condition at Alegent Creighton University Medical Center.
His mother Carla tells Channel 6 News her son was shot four times, information she first learned when she read it on wowt.com. She said police had only told her that he was taken to the hospital. Carla says Oliver suffers from depression. She is still in shock over the entire situation, saying her son is her best friend and she doesn't believe he would have hurt anyone. She says the next 10 days are key as to whether he survives.
Officer Duncan is a 16-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department. Officer Johnson is a 10-year veteran. It is police policy to place any officer on paid administrative leave after discharging his or her weapon that results in an injury pending an internal investigation.