Grand Jury to Investigate Officer-Involved Deaths

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A grand jury was being assembled Monday to investigate the deaths of four people at the hands of Omaha police.

Two of the deaths happened at the same time. In August 2014, officers confronted a robbery suspect armed with a gun inside a Midtown Omaha Wendy’s restaurant. When suspect Cortez Washington opened fire, officers fired back killing Washington. Bryce Dion, a crew member of the TV reality show COPS, was also killed in the incident. Dion was near Washington when the suspect opened fire.

Also being investigated, the February 24th death of Daniel Elrod. He was shot & killed after allegedly robbing the Family Dollar Store south of Downtown Omaha. Police say an officer opened fire after Elrod claimed he was armed and reached for something in his waistband. Elrod, who was not armed as it turns out, had a blood alcohol level of .148.

A fourth death being investigated is Joseph Losteiner. He was arrested October 30, 2014 for several charges including leaving the scene of a crash and flight to avoid arrest. He was found unresponsive in his cell about five hours later and was pronounced dead. The cause of death was not revealed at the time.

Nebraska state law requires a grand jury investigation anytime someone either dies in custody or while someone is being placed into custody. The investigation into the four deaths is expected to take two or three days. The state frequently assembles several cases together for one grand jury to investigate.