Two Omaha police officers are on paid administrative leave as the investigation into Wednesday's fatal shooting of a suspect continues.
Members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force and Omaha Police Department Gang Unit were attempting to take 30-year-old Willie Michalak into custody at South 11th and Dorcas streets just after 5:30 p.m.
Michalak was wanted on felony arrest warrants from Dodge County on charges that included being a habitual criminal, attempt of a Class II felony, two counts of burglary, two counts of theft by unlawful taking over $1,500, operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
As officers approached Michalak, who was believed to be armed, gunshots were fired by multiple officers. Michalak was pronounced dead at the scene.
Vickie and Mike Stewart knew Michalak and they say they don't understand why their friend was shot. They use words like horrific and traffic to describe the incident as Michalak was shot in their driveway.
Vickie said she heard, "pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. I mean, I don't know how many times: pop, pop, pop, pop again, and then I knew, I knew then. The last ones was just two, just two shots."
The couple said they thought of Michalak like a son.
The Metro Area Fugitive Task Force was after him on charges out of Fremont. Officers there believed he stole an SUV and attempted to burglarize a home.
Fremont Police Lt. Ed Watts said, “When officers arrived they were approaching the residence they observed Mr. Michalak fleeing from the residence. He got into a vehicle ignoring their orders to stop."
On Wednesday, officers knew they were dealing with a dangerous suspect.
Next door neighbor Keerstyn says she heard officers yell "He's in the car. He's got a gun," and no other commands.
She said, “They didn't even give this a man a chance to surrender even if he wanted to. It was straight execution."
OPD issued a statement Thursday saying, “The Omaha Police Department will provide a comprehensive accounting of the Officer Involved Shooting in the coming days. In total, five officers from three agencies fired their duty weapons, two from the Omaha Police Department, two from the United States Marshals Service and one from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Omaha Police investigators have not yet been able to interview all involved officers. In order to maintain the integrity of the investigation, additional information cannot be released until those interviews are conducted by the Omaha Police Department's Officer Investigations Squad.”
Per Omaha Police Department policy, any officer who discharges a firearm that results in injury or death is placed on paid administrative leave pending Homicide Unit and Internal Affairs investigations. The United States Marshal Service and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are cooperating with the investigation.