Target shooting in Omaha: police detail the chronology of events

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — On Friday, the police department released a detailed timeline of events that occurred Tuesday at a Target store in Omaha West.

The timeline spans 17 minutes, from the time the shooter arrived at the store to Omaha police said Officer Brian Vanerheiden yelled several commands to the shooter to drop his weapon before the fatal shot was fired.

According to the OPD timeline, the shooter arrived at the store in his personal vehicle at 11:49 a.m. Upon arriving at the store, police said Jones removed a cardboard box from his car and entered the grocery entrance on the southeast side of the street. store in a dark coat and hat, and then headed to the pharmacy.

The OPD said that investigators estimated that about 250 guests and employees were inside the SuperTarget when the incident took place around noon on Tuesday.

Less than 10 minutes after he pulled into the parking lot, the shooter pointed a semi-automatic rifle at a Target employee before firing into the air.

He then walked to the front of the store and fired two more shots. At 11:59 a.m., he took off his coat and fired at a self-service checkout in front of the store, and then fired at a beverage cooler.

The coat was left behind by Joseph Jones, 32, who was shot and killed by police after he brought a semi-automatic rifle to a Target store in Omaha West on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. (Omaha Police Department)

It was at the same time that Douglas County 911 received a call about the incident stating that it was a shooting at a SuperTarget store located at 180th Street and West Center Road and entrusting a police unit to respond.

At noon, the gunman entered the grocery entrance lobby and fired several shots before briefly leaving the store. When he returned, he fired another shot, according to the OPD timeline. He then proceeded to walk through the store with a semi-automatic rifle.

Police released CCTV images a day after they say 32-year-old Joseph Jones entered a Target store in West Omaha with a semi-automatic rifle, terrorizing shoppers. (Courtesy image)

At 12:05 p.m., OPD officer Brian Vanerheiden and a Nebraska State Trooper entered the store at the southwest entrance and made contact with a gunman who they said was still holding a gun.

A minute later, Officer Vanderheyden shot the shooter after issuing more than 20 “loud verbal commands to drop the rifle,” according to an OPD release.

Police said the shooter responded, “Come on!” three times during the exchange, but refused to drop the rifle and then said “I’ll kill you!”

“Officer Vanderheyden then fired one shot from his service pistol,” the report said.

The shot eventually killed the shooter.

“This entire interaction lasts approximately 15 seconds,” the release says.

Police released officer’s body camera image showing 32-year-old Joseph Jones of Omaha at Target store at 180th Street and West Center Road, where he fired a semi-automatic rifle and terrorized shoppers (Omaha Police Department).

Meanwhile, other law enforcement at the scene were looking for any other shooters and possible victims as they made their way through the store, police said.

Omaha police have identified the suspect in the shooting as 32-year-old Joseph Jones of Omaha. Jones bought a semi-automatic rifle at a Cabela store four days before taking it to a Target store near 180th Street and West Center Road on Tuesday. Police said he was armed with an AR-15 rifle and 13 loaded magazines when he entered the store.

Omaha police said it was an AR-15 type rifle used in a shooting at a Target store in west Omaha on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 (Omaha Police Department).

On Friday, police said investigators were still trying to determine a motive for Jones’ actions on Tuesday.

His family called it “cop suicide”.

The death in custody case will go to a grand jury under the laws of the State of Nebraska.

“We would like to thank all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Omaha Fire Department, for their prompt response to this critical incident,” OPD said Friday. “Thanks to the people at Target for their bravery. We are grateful that there were no additional human casualties. We offer our condolences to Mr Jones’s family.”

The customers returned to the store on Thursday morning at 10:00.

Drew Gunter, the store’s director, issued a statement prior to the opening thanking customers and “the community for the good work over the past couple of days” and that the initial response from the Omaha police “probably saved lives.”



11:49 – The suspect arrives at Target in a private vehicle.

11:56 – The suspect retrieves a cardboard box from the car and walks to the southeast entrance of the grocery store wearing a dark coat and hat.

11:57 – The suspect goes to the pharmacy. A shipping box was later found in the area.

11:58 – A suspect points a rifle at a Target employee. He then points his rifle into the air, firing one shot. Walks to the front of the store and fires two more shots.

11:59 – The suspect takes off his coat. He fires his rifle at the self-checkout counter. He then shoots the drink cooler.

11:59 – Douglas County 911 receives first call to 17810 West Center Road about “shooting”.

11:59 – The first police unit is assigned a 911 call.

12:00 – The suspect enters the grocery store entrance lobby and fires multiple shots inside the lobby.

12:02 – The suspect leaves the store briefly and then re-enters. He shoots again.

12:04 – The suspect walks west through the store, still holding the rifle.

12:05 – Officer Vanerheiden and the Nebraska State Trooper immediately enter the southwest entrance of the GM.

12:05 – Officer Vanderheyden and an NSP soldier contact the suspect, who still has his rifle.

12:06 – The suspect is shot dead by Officer Vanderheyden.

Investigative reporter Brian Mastre contributed to this report.

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