Officer, suspect wounded in Columbus gunbattle

June 8, 2018

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A police officer and a man he was trying to arrest were wounded when they exchanged gunshots at a house in eastern Nebraska, police said Friday.

The gunbattle broke out Thursday evening, when two officers arrived at the Columbus home to serve an arrest warrant. One took up a position at the rear of the house. A woman leaving the house told the other officer to go in the front door, police Capt. Todd Thalken said Friday, but the officer soon saw the man he sought, holding a handgun.

Thalken said it appears the man fired first, setting off the gunbattle, with the man switching to a rifle.

The man was hit five or six times and the officer at least twice, Thalken said. The officer stationed at the rear of the house reached the front as the shooting died down, so he never fired his weapon and wasn’t injured, the police captain said.

Thalken identified the wounded officer as Sgt. Brad Wangler, a 19-year veteran of the Columbus force, and the man as 24-year-old Jorge Robledo. Court records also list his first name as Jorje. The arrest warrant listed drug charges and other crimes in Hall County.

Both men were treated at Columbus Community Hospital before being transferred to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. A hospital spokesman refused to comment.

Wangler was in stable condition, Thalken said, and is expected to undergo surgery on his throat, where one bullet went in and then out. Thalken said he didn’t have any information about Robledo’s condition.

It’s unclear whether the woman who told Wangler to go in the house knew Robledo was armed, Thalken said. Her actions will be investigated by Columbus police and the Nebraska State Patrol, he said.

Update hourly