Omaha Police have released more details and the identity of the man who was shot and killed by officers Wednesday afternoon at the Siena-Francis House.
Police say around 4:30 p.m. officers received a call of a man who had cut two people and ran into the building. The call was then upgraded when the caller told the 911 operator that Stephen Caldwell was holding a box cutter to a female’s throat.
The first officers arrived at 4:34 p.m. and confirmed that Caldwell was inside an office building at the Sienna Francis House with a female employee that he was holding hostage.
The officers attempted to negotiate with Caldwell through a locked door, but he initially refused to open the door. The officers called for a hostage negotiator and a canine handler. Body worn camera footage shows the officers talking to the suspect through the door, attempting to convince him to release the female employee.
The footage shows the office door open from the inside and officers entering the room with their guns drawn, while telling the suspect to "put it down". Shots were then fired at 4:45 p.m. The hostage was removed from the office and transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries she received from the suspect holding a knife to her.
The victim was interviewed and told detectives that Caldwell had come into her office earlier in the day and told her he had a problem with one of the female employees over property.
The victim said the suspect returned to her office at approximately 4:30 p.m. and said he had “stabbed” two other female employees of the Francis House, with one of them being the female he had previously mentioned having a problem with.
The victim told police Caldwell appeared “paranoid” and she could see he had a bloody knife in his hand. She said he closed and locked the door behind him and barricaded it with several chairs. The suspect handcuffed the victim to her office desk.
The victim said within moments, the police were outside of her door trying to talk him into opening the door. The police asked her through the door if she was ‘in danger’, the suspect told her to reply “yes”, to which she did.
After several minutes, the suspect opened the door and ran back to the desk where he retrieved the knife and placed it to the victim’s neck, while placing the victim between himself and the police. The victim stated the police entered the room with their guns drawn and ordered the suspect multiple times to “put it down” and to “drop the knife” and then shots were fired.
The other two employees injured were also transported to the Nebraska Medical Center where they are currently recovering. The investigation is continuing and police say several officers fired their weapons. Four officers are on administrative leave pending the investigation.
The Nebraska State Patrol is assisting the Omaha Police Officer-Involved Investigations Team with this incident. Several witnesses have been interviewed, including one who said she was with the suspect earlier in the day when he told her he was upset over a property dispute with Sienna Francis House staff. The witness said the suspect told her he had stolen a knife from a nearby Family Dollar Store, and displayed to her what she described as a ‘large kitchen knife’. The witness also said the suspect told her “he wasn’t going to stop until the cops shot him”.
The investigation will include interviews with the involved officers. Per state law, a Grand Jury will be convened to investigate the in-custody death.