An Omaha police officer named Kerrie Orozco, 29, was shot dead on Wednesday just a day before she was about to go on maternity leave. Orozco gave birth to premature baby Olivia Ruth in February and to care of her daughter, she was about to go for a leave on Thursday.
Orozco, Omaha’s police department’s first police officer and also the stepmother of two children ages 6 and 7, was pronounced dead at Creighton University Medical Center at about 1 p.m. just after the shooting. 26-year-old suspect Marcus Wheeler was also declared dead at the same medical center.
“Officer Kerrie Orozco gave her life for all of us in her service to the Omaha Police Department,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stohert. “She will be remembered and missed as a loving wife, mother, daughter and dedicated officer.”
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmanderer said that Orozco, along with other officers, was chasing Wheeler, a convicted felon charged with first-degree assault in 2014. Wheeler open-fired on the police officers. Authorities said Wheeler was a gang member and a convicted criminal.
Orozco’s newborn baby is due to release from the hospital tomorrow.
“[The baby] is set to be released from the hospital tomorrow,” Schmanderer said, his voice clearly breaking.
“She was a friend, a popular officer,” Schmanderer said. “I just can’t even imagine that this has happened. The city of Omaha owes her and her family a debt of gratitude.”
Dr. Michael Wagner, a trauma critical care surgeon, said his team provided “aggressive care” to Orozco.
“[This] tragic news is devastating to the law enforcement community and all Nebraskans,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said. “We must all ensure that Officer Orozco’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.”