(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha Police release more details after a man is shot by an officer as he drove through a Halloween block party on Minne Lusa Boulevard.
Omaha Police say Monday night multiple officers were assigned to 'Halloween on the Boolevard,' an annual neighborhood Halloween event in the Minne Lusa neighborhood, for community outreach, to hand out candy and engage with the community. OPD says the event was barricaded off so no vehicular traffic could travel down Minne Lusa Boulevard, as the event draws hundreds of people both in the streets, sidewalks, yards, and the large center median area. Police say officers were alerted to a vehicle driving recklessly southbound on Minne Lusa Boulevard.
Investigators say Officer Bryson Blanford, who had his police cruiser parked on the median where they were handing out candy to children, ran through the crowd into the street in front of the reckless vehicle. Police say Officer Blanford gave multiple loud verbal commands to the driver and held out his hand gesturing for the driver to stop the vehicle. OPD says the driver was later identified as 31 year old Dontavius Levering. Investigators say Levering continued to drive the vehicle toward Officer Blanford, and the people behind him. OPD says Blanford fired multiple times at Levering, striking him.
Police say the vehicle quickly came to a stop and Levering was provided immediate medical attention by Blanford and other officers at the event. Omaha Fire Department personnel took Levering to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in serious condition. He is expected to survive. Levering was the only person in the vehicle.
OPD says multiple witness statements provided information that Levering was driving his vehicle recklessly through the barricaded event. Area camera footage also shows that his vehicle was traveling in the wrong direction on Minne Lusa Boulevard and accelerating with crowds of pedestrians present. Police say Levering was also driving his vehicle with no headlights on. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says they do not believe there were terroristic or mass casualty intentions on the part of Levering, and that he may have been under the influence.
The investigation is ongoing at this time. The incident was captured on the officer’s Body Worn Camera. The Nebraska State Patrol and the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office are assisting with the investigation. The Officer Blanford will be interviewed in the coming days and has been placed on paid administrative leave. OPD says Chief Schmaderer was on scene.