Knife-wielding man shot by police dies

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The knife-wielding suspect critically wounded by police trying to take him into custody at 165th and West Maple Road Friday morning has died. He was identified as 31-year-old Joshua Beebee.

"Officers arrived, there was a short foot pursuit of the suspect, an altercation took place and shots were fired," said OPD Capt. Scott Gray.

Officers were dispatched to North 163rd and Bedford plazas at 9:43 a.m. after calls to 911 reporting that a man was armed with a butcher knife. Several witnesses told WOWT 6 News they saw the man out wandering in the median at 165th and Maple as early 7:30, 8 a.m.

Four officers arrived and saw Beebee in a field holding the knife southeast of 165th and Maple. As three officers approached Beebee, he ran away. The officers ordered him to drop the knife while another officer drove his cruiser through the field to cut off Beebee’s path and prevent him from getting to nearby apartments.

As the officer was getting out of his vehicle, Beebee ran in front of the cruiser. Once Beebee got to the driver’s side of the cruiser, Beebee made an abrupt turn directly towards the officer and charged at him holding a large knife in his right hand. The officer was directly in the path of Beebee as he charged towards him. The officer fired seven rounds.

The officers rendered first aid at the scene until the Omaha Fire Department medics arrived. The knife recovered at the scene measured 11 inches in length. No officers were injured.

Beebee, who lived nearby, was taken to Nebraska Medicine and pronounced dead at 10:29 a.m.

"I came outside to my car and I just heard the cop cars and stuff and saw the lights over there and when I went back in, we looked out the back window and saw the guy, the cops doing CPR on the guy," said Kathy Hepfinger, who lives across the street. "We are really on the alert and it is kind of scary when you see something like this, especially when there is a shooting."

Hepfinger recently joined a neighborhood watch group and was thankful multiple people called 911. "We are always on the alert around here because there has been some activity lately that's been going on, that's why I belong to the neighborhood watch. We really keep an eye out."

Seven civilian witnesses were interviewed and the incident was recorded on police cruiser video and a cell phone belonging to one of the civilian witnesses.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and several senior commanders have viewed the video. The video evidence and witness statements verify the timeline of events and justify the actions of the officer who shot Beebee.

Per Omaha Police Department policy, any officer who discharges his/her firearm during an incident is placed on paid administrative leave pending Homicide and Internal Affairs investigations. The officer who fired his duty handgun has been placed on administrative leave. Per state law, a grand jury will be convened to investigate the actions of the officers.