Update: Troubled Past In Year's First Murder

By: Ann McIntire, Gary Smollen Email
By: Ann McIntire, Gary Smollen Email

A woman was killed and a man wounded Saturday night in what police are calling a murder, attempted suicide shooting inside a car stopped on an Omaha roadway.

Police say an officer on patrol spotted the stalled car blocking traffic on the eastbound ramp to L Street from 72nd Street around 5:40 p.m. He approached and briefly spoke with the driver. The officer then headed back to the cruiser to divert the traffic that was backed up on the ramp when he heard gunshots coming from the vehicle.

Ted Peal and a friend stopped to see why so many police cruisers were on the L Street ramp. “They had their guns drawn on him, telling him to get out and keep his hands up. I guess he wasn't responding to them, there were probably six or seven cops around the car, around the police car and slowly moved it up to that car."


Rita Eckhout_Mitchel Hadan

The passenger, 35-year-old Rita Eckhout of Omaha, died at the scene and the driver, 47-year-old Mitchel Hadan, also of Omaha, was taken to Creighton University Medical Center where he is in critical, but stable condition.

Homicide Unit investigators believe Hadan shot and killed Eckhout, then attempted to take his own life. Eckhout's brother tells Channel 6 News the two had a 3-year-old son together and had a rocky relationship over the last few years.

"They've seen each other quite a bit, but most of the time it was a fighting matter it seemed like in the last year or so,” said Nathan Eckhout, who added that Rita was a caring mother. "Fun-loving, she loved life, she loved her kid." The boy is now being cared for by his grandmother.

Hadan had been featured on Channel 6 News as "Heartland's Most Wanted" in 1996 and 1999, wanted for robbery, use of a weapon to commit a felony, attempted assault on an officer, burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a felon and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest.

He also made news last June when he turned himself into the Washington County Sheriff''s Department for breaking into a home. He was transferred to Douglas County where he was wanted in a separate incident for holding a girlfriend hostage. Police say he beat her with a board and threatened her with a knife.

Still, what happened Saturday evening is hard for Eckhout's family to grasp. “We're still going through the shock, dismay,” said Nathan. Now, their concern turns to her little boy. “I guess try to put back the pieces and carry on life with her son."

A friend tells Channel 6 News he was shot in the back of the head. Terri Rohmeyer says both Mitchel and Rita have rocky pasts, but she was shocked to hear what happened and her thoughts are with their son.

"I feel bad for Hunter, I feel bad for her family, I feel bad for Mitch's family, but there's always two sides to a story and I think they're trying to make Mitch out to be someone that he's not. He's really been doing well."

Police will wait to file charges against Hadan until after he is released from the hospital.


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