SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — The officer who exchanged gunfire Thursday night with a suspect in South Sioux City is on administrative leave.
South Sioux City Police Chief Edward Mahon spoke at a Friday press conference, providing a few more details about the incident.
The Nebraska State Patrol stated in a Friday release they were called to investigate an officer-involved shooting that involved the South Sioux City Police Department that took place Thursday around 7:50 p.m.
The South Sioux City Police Department received a call of a possible overdose at Autumn Park apartment complex on the 300 block of E. 12th Street. Paramedics responded to the call earlier but had to evacuate after a man, later identified as Richard Germek, 61, of South Sioux City, displayed a gun. Mahon said Germek had pointed the gun at EMS.
Mahon said that law enforcement from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the Sioux City Police Department then worked to create a perimeter, identifying the incident as a barricaded subject call. Law enforcement worked to contain the area to keep the subject from leaving and also evacuate residents.
The release said that after a preliminary investigation, officers arrived to the scene in the complex hallway and tried to communicate with Germek when he fired at the officers. Mahon said authorities were still working to contain the scene when Germek fired a handgun. An officer returned fire and hit Germek once.
Germek was taken to a local hospital for injuries considered not life-threatening. After being treated, he was booked into the Dakota County Jail. Germek was later taken back to the hospital for a medical condition unrelated to the incident.
Charges against Germek are pending, the release stated.
As part of their policy on officer-involved shootings, Mahon said that the NSP was called to investigate the incident to help ensure the investigation remains transparent and impartial.
No officers were injured during the incident.
Mahon added that safety was paramount in handling the situation.
“It was so important to keep the citizens safe, to keep the rescue personnel safe, do our best to keep the subject safe, and to keep our officers safe,” Mahon said. “And it’s unfortunate when we have to resort to that much force, but again, the subject began firing at our officers, and I believe that officer had no other choice.”
Mahon said that the officer who exchanged gunfire with Germek is not being identified at this time. He added that the officer is on administrative leave.
“That’s absolutely protocol. It’s just, it’s what we do if, nothing else to ensure the officer has some time to decompress, to make sure that he is okay. It looks like a very unfortunate situation, but I think the situation was done properly,” Mahon said. “Again the investigation is still open, but he’ll have at least several days on administrative leave that is by policy and no way indicative that we think he did anything wrong. But after something like this traumatic incident, we have to make sure that he is good to go.”
The specific number of gunshots, location of the injury, body camera footage are not being released at the time.