Police: Nebraska man killed by officers trying to avoid jail

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 5:20 PM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A 29-year-old Nebraska man who was fatally shot during a confrontation with police told officers he wouldn't go to jail, Lincoln Police said Monday.

Police took five people into custody after the clash Sunday evening that also left two police officers injured. Police Chief Jim Peschong said Monday that one officer was shot in the arm and another was held in a headlock and punched during the clash Sunday evening.

"It was a pretty intense struggle," Peschong said.

The officers were investigating suspicious activity in the northeast Lincoln neighborhood when they found a man with a felony arrest warrant against him. When they tried to arrest him, the man pulled out a handgun and shot one officer in the arm, Peschong said. That's when the officers returned fire and killed him.

Police on Monday identified the man who died in the confrontation as Zachary Grigsby, who was white. Identifying information about the officers, including their races, hasn't been released.

Neighbor Robert Lenzen said he heard two women screaming followed by a series of loud pops when the confrontation happened Sunday evening.

"I was sitting in my living room watching TV," he said Sunday night. "I thought there was fireworks, then there was police cars, there's still a body in the street, looked like a policeman was shot."

Grigsby struggled with addiction, especially after his father died in 2013 and his fiance died in a 2014 car accident, his sponsor in Narcotics Anonymous, Tim Sheehan, told the Lincoln Journal Star.

"Then he started getting on the wrong side again," Sheehan said. "He kind of lost hope for life. We've talked to him and tried to help him."

Three officers who were involved in the confrontation will be on leave while the incident is investigated, but they weren't immediately identified Monday. A grand jury will investigate because state law requires it whenever someone dies in police custody or while being arrested.