Omaha Police have identified the suspect shot by an officer on Thursday night as 30-year-old Deandre Crittenden. The officer who fired the shot is identified as Paul Hasiak.
According to a news release issued Friday afternoon, the incident began to unfold at 8:10 on Thursday night.
A two-officer cruiser was on patrol in the area of 44th Street and Pratt Street when the two officers heard gunshots being fired nearby.
Shotspotter, the gunfire alert system, detected several rounds of gunfire between 44th Street and 44th Avenue on Pratt Street.
The two officers then noticed a black two-door Chevrolet Tahoe traveling east on Pratt Street. The Tahoe was coming from the direction of the gunfire and the driver’s window was part-way down. Given the wintry conditions, the officers investigated further.
They caught-up to the Tahoe at 44th Street and Ruggles Street. As soon as the Tahoe pulled over to park, police say the lone occupant of the vehicle, later identified as Crittenden, fled on foot.
Officer Eric Meads says Crittenden was armed with a handgun. Meads and Officer Paul Hasiak pursued Crittenden on foot eastbound through the yards along the south side of Ruggles Street to the address of 3915 N. 44th Street.
During the foot chase, police say the officers gave Crittenden numerous loud verbal commands that included, “show me your hands.” Police say a recording of the incident indicates officers communicating to each other, “he’s got a gun in his hand.”
As Crittenden ran to the rear of the residence at 3915 N. 44th Street, both officers cut across the front yard. Meads verbally alerted Officer Hasiak that Crittenden would be coming around the south side of the house.
While in the driveway on the south side of the residence Officer Paul Hasiak, an 8 ½ year veteran of the Omaha Police Department, confronted Crittenden and observed that Crittenden’s handgun had fallen to the ground. Police say the gun was directly in front of Crittenden and within Crittenden’s reach. Officer Hasiak observed Crittenden reach down and pick up the handgun and raise it up toward Officer Hasiak.
Officer Hasiak discharged his duty weapon, striking Crittenden several times.
Officers then radioed that shots were fired and announced a “help an officer.” The officers also request a rescue squad to be sent to the scene to provide medical attention to Crittenden.
Crittenden was hospitalized.
A .45 caliber handgun equipped with a high capacity extended magazine was recovered at the scene of the shooting.
During a search of the scene where the initial gunfire was heard by the officers and detected by Shotspotter, investigators located several .45 caliber spent shell casings. Additional firearms examination and forensic ballistic testing will be completed to determine if the two crime scenes are connected.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer is quoted in the news release as saying, “Omaha Police Officers are trained to intervene in dangerous life threatening situations to protect the citizens of Omaha. Police officers have the legal authority to utilize deadly force to defend themselves and others from serious bodily injury or death. In this incident, Officer Hasiak feared for his safety and discharged his firearm in defense of himself.”
As per Omaha Police 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. Officer Hasiak and Officer Meads were placed on paid administrative leave.
As of Friday afternoon, Crittenden was listed in critical condition.