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Omaha Police bolster gang unit after July 4 violence in North Omaha

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 2:47 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police are adding more officers to its gang unit and will have more officers patrolling in the area of 24th and Lake Streets after a recent outbreak of violence over the Fourth of July weekend. One man died and several others were injured from gunfire.

Officers are still investigating the area, trying to find out the cause of all the trouble early Saturday morning.

A large crowd had gathered, then shots were fired. Two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Those who live nearby complained about the large crowds gathering in private lots, so police tried to shut off access to the lots.

Residents and business owners have noticed graffiti in the area. Police do not know if any of the shootings were gang-related but they are not taking any chances.

“This weekend there were several shootings. We have to look over a long period of time to see crime trends and where the issues are. But because of the concern and the public asking for more help, we’re going to add some more officers to our gang unit -- at least on a temporary basis,” said Omaha Police Officer Joe Nickerson.

Some who live and work in the area say last weekend’s shooting should not be connected to the social justice movement.

Eric Ewing is the executive director of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

“What we have to understand and realize is that it has nothing to do with the movement. It wasn’t as if these events occurred during a protest or a march or anything like that. So for people to try to relate the two together, I think they are trying to redirect and change the narrative of the story,” Ewing said.

Business owner Don McPherson agrees. His store, Styles of Evolution, has been part of the area for 15 years. McPherson said the type of violence that broke out is very bad for economic growth in North Omaha.

“This is critical in order for us to bring wealth in our community and leave a legacy for our kids and our family. It’s really important that we don’t destroy what we’re building,” he said.

Police said they will pay extra attention in the area.

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