Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck with Omaha Police Department shot in the face by shoplifting suspect, Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr.
Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr., was arrested after a high-speed chase and charged with attempted murder and the use of a weapon to commit a felony after he allegedly shot Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck four times when he was caught shoplifting at the Westroads Mall in Omaha.
Wittstruck had been dispatched to the JC Penney at 3.27pm after Jenkins was detained by store security after he was allegedly caught stuffing a package of T-shirts into his backpack, cops said in a news release.
When cops arrived, Jenkins – who had allegedly given store security a fake name — was sitting in a chair in the security office and was not cooperative with police.
Wittstruck ordered him to take off his backpack and Jenkins stood up and stuffed his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket.
Omaha officer shot four times
The cop, who has been with the Omaha Police Department since September 2016, then ordered Jenkins to show his hands ‘multiple times’ but he refused, officials said.
Wittstruck told Jenkins he was under arrest and tried to put him into handcuffs, but was shoved by the suspect, starting a brief struggle.
The cop drew his taser and used it on Jenkins but it was ineffective, officials said.
Jenkins allegedly pulled a gun out of his sweatshirt pocket and shot Wittstruck four times – hitting him in the face and the top of his head. Wittstruck’s gun had not been removed from its holster and was not fired.
The suspect then ran out of the security office and fled in a white BMW when Wittstruck fell to the ground, police said.
Nebraska State Troopers found the car near a Pump and Pantry gas station and tried to perform a traffic stop but Jenkins led them on a high-speed chase reaching speeds over 140 mph.
Troopers successfully deployed stop sticks, deflating Jenkins’ tires on I-80 and arrested him.
Stable and recovering
Cops found a Taurus .380 subcompact, semi-automatic pistol in his possession, they said upon Jenkins’ arrest WOWT reported.
Back at the mall, Officer Joseph Kunza arrived and helped JC Penney’s employees provide aid to the injured officer until he was transported by Omaha Fire Department medics to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition.
Wittstruck is now in stable condition and recovering from his injuries, officials said. KETV reported that he will need surgery.
When Jenkins got to police headquarters he began to complain of a minor leg injury and was tended to by medics, cops said.
A GoFundMe has since been started to help Officer Wittstruck’s family.
‘We are incredibly blessed by such an amazing and supportive community! Thank you all for blessing us during this challenging time. Jeff is in good spirits as he rests and heals up in the hospital. We are grateful to God for watching over him. Thank you again,’ his wife Kelsey Wittstruck wrote in an update to the fundraiser.
Trevor Benson, who organized the fund on behalf of Kelsey Wittstruck, wrote: ‘He is a loving husband and a father of three beautiful children. The officer is a devoted Christian with a love of his career, family, and God.’
The shooting was caught on Wittstruck’s body cam and cops released screenshots of Jenkins allegedly holding the handgun.
Jenkins has a previous history of resisting arrests and escape, cops said.