PHOTOS: Police identify man shot dead by OPD after terrorizing west Omaha Target store

Police allowed customers to retrieve personal property from the 180th & Center location on Wednesday afternoon
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 10:24 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 1, 2023 at 4:02 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Police on Wednesday identified the man killed after firing shots in a west Omaha Target a day earlier.

According to the OPD news release, Joseph Jones, 32, of Omaha, had purchased the semi-automatic rifle at Cabela’s four days before walking into the Target store near 180th Street and West Center Road with it on Tuesday.

Police also shared several photos including images from store surveillance cameras and from OPD officer body-worn cameras. Two photos show Jones standing in front of the store holding the gun; others show him in different parts of the store, still carrying his weapon.

Omaha Police images included a photo of the gun, a body-camera image of the shooter in the store, and a photo of a coat located in the store where surveillance images showed the suspect removing it.

The officer involved in the shooting that left Jones dead is Officer Brian Vanderheiden, who has served with OPD for 20 years.

“He has been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy,” the release states.

Omaha Police said Officer Brian Vanderheiden is on paid administrative leave after shooting the...
Omaha Police said Officer Brian Vanderheiden is on paid administrative leave after shooting the man terrorizing a Target store in west Omaha.(Omaha Police Dept.)

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but police allowed customers who fled the shooting scene Tuesday to return there from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday to obtain the personal items they left behind.

According to a tweet Tuesday night from OPD, the store at 180th Street and West Center Road was only open for that purpose — not for shopping. The store was expected to remain closed as police continue to investigate Tuesday’s fatal shooting incident that left the gunman dead.

Those unable to return at this time can also contact the store by calling 402-697-4930 to make other arrangements.

At 11:59 a.m., Omaha Police officers were dispatched to the Target location near 180th Street and West Center Road after reports of shots fired in the store. A heavy police presence was seen at the location shortly after noon.

A Nebraska State trooper along with OPD officers arrived and shot the shooter, killing him. OPD said the male suspect had an AR-15-style rifle and 13 loaded magazines of ammunition.

Omaha Police said in a tweet at 12:52 p.m. that the scene was secure after three searches, but advised the public to avoid the area while they continued their investigation.

FBI personnel were seen checking cars in the parking lot after that. Schmaderer later confirmed that local, state, and federal authorities had responded to the initial call.

CAN YOU HELP? Omaha Police are asking anyone with information on Tuesday’s incident at the Target store at 180th and Center to call them at 402-444-4877.

Target Stores issued two brief statements on Tuesday, noting the store would remain closed “until further notice” and stating that employees would be paid while the store was closed and that they would provide access to on-site counseling for those who need it.

Tuesday’s incident was the second fatal officer-involved shooting in Omaha in less than a day. Two OPD officers were hurt in a gun battle with a man at a storage facility Monday night.

The 38-year-old killed in the exchange of gunfire had been wanted on two bench warrants stemming from incidents involving a woman he had been in a relationship with; he had also served prison sentences for drug-related and theft offenses.