Two women and one man were killed and five people wounded in a shooting Saturday morning near North 34th and Parker streets in Omaha.
Police called to the scene at 1:44 a.m. say three victims were taken to Nebraska Medicine by ambulance. Three others went to the hospital by private vehicle.
Nineteen-year-old JaKela Foster and 24-year-old Latecia Fox died at the scene. Twenty-six-year-old Cameron Harris died of his wounds at the hospital.
The wounded include 20-year-old Treveon Lillard, 20-year-old Jordyn Zyla, 21-year-old Trenelle Miller, 21-year-old Johnny Tiller and 25-year-old Andrelet Bush. All remain hospitalized in stable condition.
A suspect, 32-year-old Christopher Grutel, was taken into custody around 4 a.m. and booked for being a felon in possession of a firearm and obstructing a police officer. A gun was recovered earlier near the scene of the shooting.
According to Foster's mother, Kristina Young, Foster was at a party with friends when the shooting happened. Foster leaves behind a 1-year-old son. Fox's family says Latecia was a kind woman, and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After numerous family members of the victims arrived at Nebraska Medicine, a "help an officer" call was issued to help restore order. A fight broke out and two people were arrested.
Said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer at an afternoon news conference, "Since December 21, 2014 there have been 11 homicides, this is on the heels of a year we've had the least in almost a decade. My homicide detectives are very skilled, they're very dedicated and they're determined to solve each and every homicide and they solved a majority of them already. North Omaha is a fabulous community that's rich in tradition. The violence that we're seeing here is the product of gang members with no regard for human life. I want those victims to know I saw your eyes and I saw the tears in your eyes and that will resonate with me until we bring resolve to this matter."
"There were multiple shooters exchanging gun fire and it is unknown at this time if any of the victims were intended targets or simply caught up in the gun fire,” Chief Schmaderer said.
Initially, the aftershock of the homicides rippled into what could be a large pool of witnesses to gather information from, to help the investigation. "I realize the fear that you may have had and some intimidation that could have taken place there at the scene early this morning. Now that you are away from that scene, and have an opportunity to be away from any of that intimidation, I'm asking you for the sake of the community to contact law enforcement,” Chief Schmaderer said.
Because evidence will rely on bullet trajectory, the two bodies of Foster and Fox could not be moved at the scene. "I want the community to know the bodies were treated with dignity and respect and they were out of view of the public's eye,” Chief Schmaderer said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the OPD Homicide Unit at 402-444-5656 or Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP. You could be eligible for a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. You will remain anonymous, assigned a code name and if a reward is granted, you will be provided with a password to provide to the designated bank for payment. No one will know the tipster’s identity.