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Westroads Mall adding security measures in aftermath of most recent shooting

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In the wake of Saturday’s deadly shooting at Westroads, mall officials said they are adding a canine patrol and take other additional security measures.

Two days after the second shooting there in five weeks, Westroads Mall officials issued a statement Monday in response to recent violence at the mall, stating that they had been working with Omaha Police since immediately after the shooting and noting that more safety measures would be taken.

For security purposes, the statement said, they would not share many specifics.

“For the foreseeable future, Westroads will be utilizing a highly-trained, weapon detecting canine to visibly patrol our center. In addition, we have enhanced several security measures behind-the-scenes that we will not discuss because to do so would compromise their effectiveness,“ the statement reads, in part.

Two teens were arrested Sunday after Traquez Swift, 21, died following Saturday’s shooting at the mall that also left a 22-year-old woman injured.

“It is unfortunate that Westroads was the location of this heinous crime, and we are deeply saddened by it,” the mall statement says.

On March 12, an OPD officer responding to a shoplifting call was shot in the face and head and is still recovering.

Omaha Police say Saturday’s shooting was a result of rivaling gang members crossing paths in the mall, and emphasize that neither the mall or shoppers were targeted.

“This was just a circumstance where individuals ran into each other and violence occurred so I wouldn’t ask people to shy away from the mall, they have tremendous security system there, great video surveillance, a lot of police presence, we give it special attention as well, and this was an isolated incident, arrests were made in less than 24 hours, these individuals are off the streets and we’re trying to address that going forward,” said Deputy Chief Ken Kanger Monday afternoon.

Kanger also confirmed that gunfire at Westroads prompted some of the violence that police saw later that night.

OPD and the gang unit are continuing prevention measures and precision policing to protect other kids who are at risk, as well as the community, Kanger tells 6 News.

Right now, he says, there’s no real reason to avoid Westroads Mall or be afraid of shopping there.

“We’ve had a couple incidents recently and arrests have been made in those incidents and there’s measures in place to make sure they have the attention they need in that area, general location to make sure those things don’t happen in the future.”

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