Kearney man found dead after five-hour standoff


Kearney man found dead after five-hour standoff

Around 3 p.m. a series of loud bangs were heard in the area of the house, although it’s unclear what they were or who they were from, according to a Hub reporter at the scene.

KEARNEY — A Kearney man wanted in connection with an early Monday morning shooting of two women near Elm Creek has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a five-hour standoff with police.

Jeffrey D. Smith, 33, of Kearney was found dead at 1823 Second Ave. Apartment B around 3:30 p.m. Monday. Earlier in the day the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office had named Smith as a person of interest in a 2:40 a.m. shooting of the two women, which occurred west of Elm Creek at a rural house.

The women were transported to CHI Health Good Samaritan and later to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Their conditions aren’t being released.

Jeffrey D. Smith

Around 11 a.m. the sheriff’s office received information that Smith was inside the apartment. An an adult female confirmed Smith was alone inside, according to a BSCO news release.

Members of the Kearney/Buffalo County Emergency Services Unit and Nebraska State Patrol SWAT responded to the scene where negotiators established communication with Smith by cellphone.

Traffic on the Second Avenue overpass, which runs directly in front of the house, was halted in both directions from 21st Street to 17th Street. Houses in the area also were evacuated or residents were notified to shelter in place.

As a precaution, all Kearney Public Schools facilities in the vicinity – Bryant, Central, Bright Futures and the administration offices – were placed in secure status throughout the day.

Negotiators communicated with Smith for several hours in an effort to reach a safe resolution, based on the news release. With the use of two armored vehicles and a police tactical robot, officers began delivering less than lethal chemical munitions inside the apartment.

During the negotiations, a police officer heard what was believed to be a gunshot inside the residence, according to the news release. With the use of a police tactical robot, entry was made inside the apartment and Smith was found dead.

No officers fired a service weapon during this incident and no officers were injured.

The Grand Island Police Department and the South-Central Law Enforcement Services (SCALES) will conduct an investigation.

Agencies at the scene were BSCO, KPD, NSP, GIPD, Hastings Police Department, the Buffalo County Attorney’s Office, Kearney Volunteer Fire Department, CHI Health Good Samaritan EMS, Nebraska Game and Parks, Kearney/Buffalo County Emergency Management and city of Kearney Street Division.​

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