UPDATE: Police detail officer-involved incident in south Omaha

Man shot in cheek also treated for several self-inflicted wounds, but authorities said his injuries were not life-threatening
With an increase in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant beginning to emerge in our community, health officials say flu numbers are also making a big jump.
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 3:37 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 4:43 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police provided further details Thursday night about an officer-involved incident earlier in the day in south Omaha being investigated as an officer-involved shooting.

Omaha Police officers were called at 2:33 p.m. to assist with a disturbance at 41st Avenue and I Street. According to an OPD release sent Thursday night, Officers Josiah Warren and Aaron Thompson responded to a home in the area after a caller informed dispatch that his mother “was possessed and controlling him with her mind.”

When officers arrived, they observed a woman in distress near the front sidewalk screaming: “Please help! He’s cutting his throat.”

Officers followed her into her home and found a man in a blood-soaked shirt holding a knife. The man, identified as Justin Michalak, was screaming and cutting himself near his throat with the knife, the release states.

Warren deployed his Taser, but Michalak refused to drop the knife, charging the officer and lunging at him with the knife, OPD’s report states. Warren deployed his Taser a second time, and Michalak fell to the floor; but officers said he “remained combative and attempted to rush both officers again.”

As the officers back out of the front door of the house, they said they saw the man — screaming and still armed with the knife — aggressively lunge at the woman, the report states. They yelled at him to drop the knife, but he grabbed the woman and raised the knife, at which point Officer Warren fired a shot through the glass in the door, striking Michalak in the left cheek, according to the report.

He and the woman fell to the floor, and the officers rushed in to get her to safety outside the home and to render aid to Michalak, who continued screaming. The officers called for medics as he remained combative, rising to his feet and again charging the officers and threatened to kill them, the report states.

Omaha Police Capt. Kathy Belcastro Gonzalez gave an update on the officer-involved incident at 2 p.m. Thursday near 41st Avenue and I Street.

Backup officers arriving at the scene helped take the man into custody and provide First Aid until Omaha Fire Department medics arrived at the scene. Michalak was then transported to Nebraska Medical Center in serious condition, suffering from the gunshot wound and “several self-inflicted lacerations to his neck area”; his injuries were not considered life-threatening, affirming what OPD Capt. Kathy Belcastro Gonzalez said in her initial report on the incident around 4:30 p.m.

OPD Chief Todd Schmaderer authorized the release of images from the officers’ body cameras on Thursday night, providing four images to local news media, but 6 News initially chose not to publish those images as they were graphic in nature.

The Nebraska State Patrol and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office are assisting Omaha Police with the investigation, which remains in-process.

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