Woman Wounded By Officer Pulled Knife, Flare Gun

By: John Chapman, Erin Murray Email
By: John Chapman, Erin Murray Email
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An Omaha woman is recovering after being shot by police Thursday night.

Fifty-two-year-old Paula Moen was shot once in the chest after her mother called police because Moen would not turn down loud music she was playing in the garage.

It all started as a call for a disturbance and a loud noise complaint at 8:42 p.m. Seventy-three-year-old Madonna Runco lives with her daughter near 103rd and Grand Avenue. Madonna told police Paula suffers from mental illness and was intoxicated and would not turn the music down. When two officers arrived, Paula refused to cooperate.

Police said Paula then pulled a small glass bottle from her purse and threw it toward the officers. As they told Paula to get her hands out of her purse, she pulled a folding knife out and waved it at the officers.

Officer Marisa Boyce drew her Taser while Officer Jodi Sautter drew her gun as Paula continued to wave the knife while the officers kept telling her to drop the weapon. Officer Boyce then fired the Taser, which struck Paula. The impact and charge momentarily knocked Paula to the ground, however she was able to get back up still armed with the knife.

As Officer Boyce was reloading the Taser, Paula reached into her purse and pulled out a black-handled, gun-shaped object. The officers observed her pull back the hammer on the gun while pointing it directly at Officer Boyce. Officer Sautter then fired one round from her gun.

Paula was taken to Alegent Creighton University Medical Center where she is in stable condition. Officers recovered the folding knife and what turned out to be a flare gun.

Neighbors said it was a very tense situation. “Crime tape from my tree all the way down the street,” said Cindy Olson. “I couldn’t even guess how many police cars were on the street. I asked the police officer, give me an idea of what’s going on and he's like, get in the house now. I'm like oh, okay.”

Other neighbors had an idea of what was going on and said police had been to the house before. “The daughter has some mental issues,” said Harold Heikes. “The police have been there several times and they've taken her away and she gets help and comes back. They give her medicine and she comes back. It’s just a shame it had to end up this way with her getting shot.”

The OPD's Officer-Involved Shooting Squad is investigating the incident and has briefed Douglas County Chief Deputy Attorney Brenda Beadle. Per department policy, any officer who discharges his/her firearm that results in an injury is placed on paid administrative leave pending Homicide and Internal Affairs investigations.

Criminal charges are pending for Paula for attempted first-degree assault on an officer and use of a weapon to commit a felony. She will also receive a mental health evaluation.

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