A man wounded in an officer-involved shooting had raised a gun toward the Omaha police officer who ultimately shot him, police said Friday.
Deandre E. Crittenden picked up a .45-caliber handgun from the ground and raised it toward Officer Paul Hasiak, according to police.
Hasiak fired multiple times.
Crittenden, 30, was taken to Creighton University Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition Friday. He is expected to survive, police said.
Hasiak, an 8˝-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department, was placed on paid administrative leave. That is standard department policy during investigations into officer-involved shootings. Officer Eric Meads also was placed on paid administrative leave.
Police Chief Todd Schmaderer released a statement backing his officers' actions.
Schmaderer said officers “are trained to intervene in dangerous life-threatening situations to protect the citizens of Omaha. Police officers have the legal authority to utilize deadly force to defend themselves and others from serious bodily injury or death. In this incident, Officer Hasiak feared for his safety and discharged his firearm in defense of himself.”
Relatives of Crittenden could not be reached for comment.
The shooting occurred about 8:10 p.m. Thursday near 44th and Ruggles Streets.
Police on Friday gave this account in a statement:
Hasiak and Meads were doing routine patrol in the area of 44th and Pratt Streets when they heard gunfire. Shotspotter, the city's gunfire alert program, also registered the shots as having been fired between 44th Street and 44th Avenue on Pratt.
The officers spotted a black two-door Chevrolet Tahoe driving east on Pratt from the direction of the gunfire.
They noticed that the driver's window was partly down, which they considered strange on a cold, snowy evening. They decided to investigate.
Hasiak and Meads watched the Tahoe park outside 4416 Ruggles St. — the home of Crittenden's mother. Crittenden, alone in the vehicle, got out and ran.
Meads said he saw Crittenden armed with a handgun.
The officers shouted “show me your hands” and other commands, and communicated to each other, “He's got a gun in his hand.” Police said the commands were recorded on a video recorder inside the officers' cruiser.
Crittenden ran to the rear of a house at 3915 N. 44th St. While in the driveway on the south side of the house, Hasiak came face-to-face with Crittenden and noticed that he had dropped the handgun.
The handgun was “directly in front of Crittenden and well within Crittenden's reach.''
Hasiak saw Crittenden “reach down and pick up the handgun and raise it up toward Officer Hasiak,'' according to the police statement.
Hasiak fired his weapon, striking Crittenden multiple times.
The officers radioed a “help an officer” call as Crittenden's friends and relatives arrived. Police said the handgun was found at the scene. They said they also found spent shell casings from the gun near 44th and Pratt, where the Shotspotter call originated.
Crittenden faces possible felony gun charges stemming from the incident.
Crittenden was sent to prison in 2001 for attempted robbery and use of a firearm to commit a felony, according to Douglas County court records. He served almost 2˝ years.
When he was 24, Crittenden was critically injured after getting into a fight at the International House of Pancakes restaurant on North 72nd Street, according to World-Herald reports in 2009.
He was found guilty of assault and battery in 2009 and sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Crittenden also got into trouble in his early teens when he was placed on probation and ordered by a judge to wear an ankle monitoring device, court records show.
He was placed in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and spent some time in a group home and juvenile correctional facilities.
World-Herald staff writer Alissa Skelton contributed to this report.