A police officer has been shot in his face and the top of his head after responding to a shoplifting call at a department store.
The incident occurred on Friday, March 12 at approximately 3:27 p.m. at a JC Penney’s department store in Omaha, Nebraska, when Officer Jeffrey Wittstruck was dispatched to a report of a shoplifter who had been detained by security after they allegedly observed him taking a package of t-shirts and placing them in his backpack before attempting to exit the establishment without paying for them, according to the Omaha Police Department.
Authorities say that the suspect, later confirmed to be 21-year-old Kenya Lamont Jenkins Jr., initially gave store security a fake name and was not forthcoming or cooperative after being stopped.
The situation escalated quickly after Officer Wittstruck, who has been with the Omaha Police Department since September 2016, arrived on the scene.
“Officer Wittstruck directed Jenkins to remove his backpack at which time Jenkins stood up and placed his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket,” said Police Chief Todd Schmaderer of the Omaha Police Department said in a statement. “Officer Wittstruck asked Jenkins to show his hands multiple times but Jenkins refused. Officer Wittstruck informed Jenkins he was under arrest and Jenkins remained uncooperative, pushing Officer Wittstruck away while he attempted to place handcuffs on Jenkins.”
According to the Omaha Police Department, Wittstruck and Jenkins got into a brief struggle before Wittstruck drew his taser and Jenkins placed his hand back into his sweatshirt pocket.