A man identified as Joseph Jones, 32 of Omaha, by police, holds an AR-15 rifle inside a west Omaha target on Tuesday. The man was later shot and killed by Omaha police after open firing in the store. No one besides the shooter was harmed, police said. Photo from the Omaha Police Department.

Police have identified the man who fired bullets inside a West Omaha Target mid-day Tuesday. Joseph Jones, 32, of suburban Omaha, purchased the AR-15 rifle he brought to Target on 17810 West Center Road four days prior at a Cabela’s sporting goods and outdoors store, according to police. Jones had 13 magazines of ammunition, police said.

Officers received at least 29 911 calls around noon Tuesday as shots rang out in the suburban retail store filled with mid-day shoppers and employees. Omaha police and a Nebraska State Trooper arrived at the scene and located Jones, described as a white male by police. They issued multiple commands to drop the rifle, police said, before an Omaha police officer fired their gun, striking and killing him.

No other victims were identified and after searching the store three times, officers declared the scene safe and shoppers and employees were escorted out.

Jones struggled with mental health for years, according to his uncle who spoke to WOWT on Wednesday. Larry Derksen Jr. told WOWT his nephew was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and would often come home with guns. Derksen said his family tried to help.

At one point he called the police when Jones demanded Derksen return a gun he confiscated. Derksen told the police he had schizophrenia, but the police still made the uncle give his nephew the gun back, he told WOWT. In the months leading up to the Target shooting Jones was arrested in Kansas, committed to a mental health facility and got the attention of the FBI.

“So here you have this long history of this 32-year-old man who has a history of being schizophrenic and there’s no help for him,” Derksen told WOWT, “no health insurance, nothing you need to get medication, no one forcing him to do or get healthy, and then we come to what happened the other day and, it’s predictable.”

Tuesday’s shooting was the second officer-involved shooting in a 15-hour span. Officers responded to a Dino’s storage unit at 5328 Center Street for a possible burglary at 10:30 p.m. Monday.

An Omaha Police Department photo showing a suspect in a Monday night burglary holding a firearm. The suspect later died from multiple gunshot wounds. Photo from the Omaha Police Department.

When the suspect, identified as Steven Docken, 38, saw officers approaching he fled, according to an Omaha police press release. Docken and officers then got into a physical altercation and gunfire was exchanged, police said. The officers were shot in their lower extremities, police said, and will survive. Docken was shot multiple times and declared dead on the scene after Omaha firefighters unsuccessfully tried to revive him.

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Chris Bowling

Chris has worked for The Reader since January 2020. As an investigative reporter and news editor he’s taken deep dives into topics such as police transparency, affordable housing and COVID-19. Originally...

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