OPD: Suspected shoplifting escalates to car chase, gunfire Wednesday night

Published: May. 23, 2019 at 7:19 AM CDT
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A shoplifting incident escalated into a car chase and gunfire Wednesday night, according to an Omaha Police report Thursday.

An off-duty mall security guard in plain clothes chased down three people he suspected of shoplifting and was later arrested after he threatened to shoot them, OPD said Thursday.

An off-duty Douglas County Sheriff's deputy called into OPD dispatch at 10:16 p.m. Wednesday requesting assistance after observing a white SUV attempting to run a teal minivan off the road near 144th and Center streets, the OPD report states.

Douglas County Sheriff's Office identified the off-duty deputy as Deputy Cody Trindle, a six year veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

According to the OPD report, three van occupants jumped out and fled the area when the vehicle slowed near 156th and S streets.

Witnesses said the deputy fired his weapon at the van when the driver accelerated toward the deputy, ignoring orders to stop. There was no indication the driver was hit, the report states.

All occupants of the van — one adult and two minors — were apprehended and taken to police headquarters Wednesday night for questioning, the report states. The three told investigators they had stolen items from a mall department store before the security guard, identified as William Budka-Gray, 26, tried to stop them at the mall, then followed them in a white SUV to the area of 156th and S streets.

They told police that during the chase, Budka-Gray yelled: "Stop or I'll shoot you." They said they thought the man had a gun in his hand and were afraid they would be shot, the report states.

According to the report, investigators said they did not find a gun in the SUV.

Budka-Gray was in jail Thursday booked on three counts of terroristic threats.

At the request of DCSD, the incident remains under investigation by the OPD Officer Involved Team and the Nebraska State Patrol.



Omaha Police were sorting out details about what happened in the area of 156th & Q streets late Wednesday.

At least one shot was fired by a law enforcement officer.

Police said they were made aware of a situation after receiving a report of a road rage incident at the intersection. Investigators said there may have been a prior altercation, but responding officers were not aware of any prior events at the time.

Responding officers sent out a "help an officer call," which typically brings a large response of officers until the declaration is canceled.

During the incident, an off-duty Douglas County Sheriff's deputy discharged a firearm, but no one was injured in the incident.

One person was arrested.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for more details. Correction: A previous version of this story indicated the wrong day the incident occurred. 6 News regrets the error.