Four Neb. Officers Hurt While Trying to Serve Warrant

OMAHA, Neb. --

For the second time in three days, law enforcement members encountered trouble while serving a warrant.

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning said deputies were serving search and arrest warrants Friday around 2:45 p.m. when something went wrong. As they were trying to issue the search warrant at 1420 B Street, officials said a struggle ensued with 34-year-old Bradley Hartz.

According to Dunning, Hartz showed signs of excited delirium and began to shout and go into a panic.

That's when law enforcement members said they deployed three to four flashbang devices, which are nonlethal weapons used to disorient the senses. Authorities said this confirms the loud explosions that witnesses reported hearing near the scene.

Dunning said four deputies were injured in the struggle with Hartz. One deputy was struck by an object and suffered a possible concussion. Another suffered a bite wound to the leg. Two deputies suffered injuries to the hands and wrists.

Authorities said Hartz was transported to the hospital, but he died en route from what they believe was cardiac arrest.

Past Contact With Law Enforcement

Hartz had a felony arrest warrant out with Omaha police on a charge of terroristic threats as well as a misdemeanor warrant on a telephone harassment charge with Douglas County.

Authorities said an intelligence bulletin was issued in late March for Hartz as a result of numerous threats he had made toward law enforcement. Hartz made a phone call to the sheriff's office regarding an unpaid debt. He said, "I plan to hurt whoever tries to come and claim it. I am coming to hunt these people and all those who plan to help them, including the sheriff. In fact, contact your SWAT people and let them know who I am and what I intend to do."

Officials said Hartz' gun registration was revoked as a result of assault and battery charges in 1997. He also faced assault and battery charges in 1999.

Hartz' address was flagged in the computer for officers' safety, according to Dunning.

"We are very fortunate that a citizen did not have contact with (Hartz) today, as we may very well be investigating another homicide or serious assault from this very angry individual," Dunning said.

Hours after the incident, dozens of law enforcement members remained at the scene investigating.

Sheriff's Office Hit Hard In Past Week

This follows an incident earlier this week when a Douglas County deputy was critically injured in a shooting while serving a warrant near Third and Cedar streets.

Omaha police have been asked to investigate both incidents. Deputies involved in Wednesday’s incident have been placed on administrative leave. Those involved in Friday’s incident are expected to face a similar situation.

Dunning said K-9 officers are being notified of reassignment to regular patrol duties as a result of the number of deputies on leave.

"We're kind of evaluating what other adjustments we have to make. We're at the end of a budget season that we thought we were going to survive. Now with all the additional overtime and so on that we're going to incur, we're not sure if we're going to make that," Dunning said.

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