By | February 9, 2024

Recently, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer shared his perspective on the tragic incident that unfolded in the heart of Omaha when two Hispanic men were fatally shot by off-duty police officers. The victims, 26-year-old Fernando Rodriguez-Juarez and 28-year-old Jonathan Hernandez-Rosales, were reportedly in the country without legal documentation.

Officers’ Actions Deemed Justified

The County Attorney has since ruled the shootings justified, a stance backed by Chief Schmaderer. The chief stated, without hesitation, that the off-duty officers’ actions were in accordance with department policy. When queried about the difficulty of this decision, Chief Schmaderer firmly responded, “I don’t.”

Events Leading to the Tragic Incident

The incident occurred outside the Extasis Night Club, located near 32nd and L Streets in Omaha. According to reports, a disturbance inside the club escalated and spilled onto the streets. The two officers involved, Captain Jay Levitt and officer Robert Soldo, were providing security at the club that night. Levitt has served in the Omaha Police Department (OPD) for 25 years, while Soldo has eight and a half years of service under his belt.

Surveillance Footage Sheds Light on Incident

The crucial moment of the incident was captured on surveillance video, providing a clearer picture of the events leading up to the fatal shooting. The footage showed Rodriguez-Juarez and Hernandez-Rosales running towards a black Jeep Cherokee, with Rodriguez-Juarez taking the driver’s seat and Hernandez-Rosales in the front passenger seat. Rodriguez-Juarez was seen raising his right hand with what appeared to be a handgun, which was followed by a shot being fired from the car.

Officers Respond with Deadly Force

Reacting to the perceived threat, Captain Levitt and officer Soldo responded with 21 shots, 12 from Levitt’s gun and 9 from Soldo’s. Both men in the car were hit three times. Chief Schmaderer stressed that the unfolding situation left no room for negotiation or de-escalation. This tragic event underscores the dangerous situations law enforcement officers often find themselves in, and the split-second decisions they must make in the line of duty.