Von Maur shooting first responder reflects eight years later

By: Miranda Christian, KMTV Channel 3

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – As the shock and disbelief surrounding the nation’s latest mass shooting set in , Omaha will face the memory of our own.

Eight years ago Saturday, a gunman opened fire in Von Maur.

Lieutenant Rob Jones with the Douglas County Sheriff’s office was one of the first law enforcement officials at Von Maur the day of the shooting; he was the first to make it to the 3rd floor where shooter Robert Hawkins opened fire.

“I knew that  I have three things those people on the 3rd floor didn’t have, I knew I had a weapon, I had body armor, and I had training,” said Jones.

The Lieutenant is in his 18th year at the sheriff’s department, and he still deals with that day, “the memory of that does not fade, the imagery of that day will always be with you, but through time the human soul is able to heal.”

He said mass shooting like Von Maur and San Bernardino are unpredictable, and law enforcement has tried to adapt and learn every time an active shooter strikes.

“Unfortunately we can’t predict them, so we try and learn the best we can to protect the public,” said Jones.

Devin Crinklaw with 88 Tactical said the way law enforcement responds to active shooters has changed, “tactics have shifted, the premises we think is the best chance for survival for innocents is for single officers to respond immediately not wait for contact teams.”

Crinklaw said the public now hold a lot of responsibility for how they respond to active shooters.

“I think it is a wake of call for the civilian community to take responsibility for their own safety.”

Jones said he feels he has a deep connection with the victims of other mass shootings after his experience, “you grieve as a fellow American, but when it’s happened to your community, it’s happened to you and your neighbors, and your fellow Omahans, it has a personal impact.”

To watch the full interview with Lt. Jones click here. 

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