Omaha man pepper sprays bar after being turned away, police say

Published: Jun. 20, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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An Omaha man was arrested early Saturday after police said he doused a downtown bar with pepper spray after being turned away, sending the patrons inside into the streets.

Ryan Shuffty, 37, was booked into the Douglas County Jail for disorderly conduct and two counts of assault.

The incident occurred at T. Henery’s just before 11 p.m. Friday night.

Security at the bar shared video with 6 News of a man and woman being turned away at the door because the bar was at 50 percent capacity.

Employees said the man appeared to be okay with being turned away, but then seconds later turned around and sprayed what appeared to be pepper spray into the bar.

“I turned around and all of a sudden my eyes and throat were burning and I was coughing and everyone around me was coughing,” said T. Henery’s security staff Jakob Pachunka. “It was slowly spreading through the bar to the patrons and what not, so my first reaction was to get to the bar and make an announcement to get everybody out of the building.”

Employees said they were able to contact the surrounding bars where a man matching the description of the man caught on surveillance video was found and later arrested by Omaha Police officers, who was later identified as Shuffty.

Those who were working at the bar Friday night said they are incredibly thankful for the community in the Old Market and the officers who were able to catch the suspect so quickly.

The bar was up and running again in little over an hour.

According to the OPD arrest report, Shuffty “stated without prompting that the bouncer at T. Henery’s was very rude to his friend and said racist things, prompting him to deploy the pepper spray and that they had no right to kick them out.”