Mayor Says Witnesses Who Come Forward Will Be Protected

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There is still no suspect in a shooting that killed three people and wounded five others according to Mayor Jean Stothert. In a press conference Tuesday, she asked witnesses to come forward, and guaranteed them that they will be protected.

"The call to action now is people please come forward and identify who these people are," said Mayor Stothert, in her first press conference on the shootings after being away in St. Louis.

It has been four days since the shooting at a house party near 34th and Parker Streets. JaKela Foster, Latecia Fox, and Cameron Harris were killed. Five others were wounded, and witnesses told WOWT 6 News, gunfire rang out in every direction.

But the mayor says although there were at least 50 people at the party, and thus many people who saw what happened, no one has come forward.

"We hear that many people are afraid of retaliation, but their fear should be greater of still having these murderers out on the street because they will do it again," said Mayor Stothert.

The Omaha Police Department's former North Omaha gang specialist, Diante Jones, said many people are following a street code to keep quiet.

"If all you've heard is, 'snitches get stitches' or 'snitches end up dead,' you believe that. Because you see people dying and you hear stories of people suffering consequences from talking to the police," said Jones.

Tuesday, the mayor wanted to squash that belief, and guaranteed witnesses that if they come forward, they will be protected.

"The police have different means to protect people. If they want to come in, if they want to come in very confidentially and talk to police. They have ways to relocate people and protect them after they have given a testimony," said the mayor.

Jones said the current landscape of gang activity is volatile in North Omaha.

"With each new death in the street, they create new triggers. And that trigger is that dead person. So what the opposite gang does is they disrespect that dead person. That perpetuates the beef, perpetuates the drama, perpetuates the shooting," said Jones.

There have been 12 homicides since December 21st. A troubling statistic considering the city's reduction in homicides in 2014. The mayor said she is optimistic that people will come forward due to a recent increase in calls to Crimestoppers for previous crimes.

If you have any information about this latest incident you're asked to call Omaha Crimestoppers at 402-444-STOP.