Law enforcement officers appear to be justified in their shooting of a 17-year-old youth early Sunday near Waterloo, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Sunday night.
He said his conclusion was based on preliminary reports and that he expects to learn more today.
The 17-year-old youth and a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy were shot when the teen opened fire on several law enforcement officers, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office said the boy was taken to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, where he was in stable condition but will need more surgery. The Sheriff’s Office did not release the name of the juvenile.
The injured deputy, John McFarland, was treated at Lakeside Hospital. He was released early Sunday afternoon after gunshot pellets were removed from his hand and forearm, Sheriff Tim Dunning said.
According to the Sheriff’s Office:
Shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday, deputies were called to a home in the 1400 block of 240th Street near Waterloo, where it was initially reported that someone with a baseball bat was assaulting his parents, Capt. Steve Glandt said.
At 5:05 a.m. the first deputy arrived on the scene and reported that the teenager was armed with a shotgun.
Other deputies and an officer from the Omaha Police Department arrived at 5:07 a.m.
Two minutes later, a deputy said shots had been fired and a “help an officer” call was issued.
The teenager fired his weapon at the law officers, and Deputies McFarland and Dale Keen returned fire, hitting the teen.
Glandt said a cruiser also was hit.
Keen was not injured.
McFarland has been with the Sheriff’s Office for five years. Keen has been with the department for one year.
McFarland and Keen have been placed on paid administrative leave during the Sheriff’s Office investigation.
When the probe is finished, investigators will turn over their results to the Omaha Police Department for an independent examination, Dunning said. That step is standard for a deputy-involved shooting and helps keep the investigation transparent, he said.
According to Douglas County Assessor’s Office records, the owner of the property is Dennis Pitzl.
When reached by phone on Sunday afternoon, Pitzl said he was not giving any statements.
The Sheriff’s Office said it’s not yet known what led to the disturbance.
The house is off U.S. Highway 275 and is surrounded by cornfields. On Sunday morning, cars rumbled past while crime investigators were still processing the scene.
The yard in front of the yellow house and several red barns was roped off with crime scene tape.