OMAHA, NE – Family members of 30 year-old Willie Michalak say they want more answers following his deadly arrest attempt last week.
Officers shot and killed Michalak near 11th and Dorcas March 19. They said he was a known criminal by the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force. Five officers from three agencies fired at Michalak attempting to carry out a felony arrest warrant. Police have confirmed few other details.
His mother, Debra Michalak, said details did not come in quickly.
“I heard it, and I thought, ‘No, I'm going to call or text.’ No response came back. And then there were moments when I thought, ‘Boy, what if it is?’”
On Monday, just days following his memorial service, the family was still frustrated with the lack of information about the shooting. They say he told them little about his criminal dealings.
“I had gut feelings, but for him to come straight out and tell me that, no. He would not. He would not lie to me. But again he did not want me to know,” said Debra Michalak.
“We want to know why this happened. We want to know what reason was given for them to execute my brother the way that he was. Nothing has come out.”
Authorities have not given an account of the events leading up to the shooting, citing an ongoing internal investigation. In the days following the shooting, neighbors said they heard officers yell, “He has a gun!”
Police say Michalak was wanted for a Dodge County warrant, where he stole a car and charged at an officer. His criminal past in Sarpy and Douglas Counties included felony theft, deception robbery.
Michalak’s sister, Amy Randall, did not make excuses for her brother’s criminal past, but insisted he was not a violent man.
“He's a frickin' car thief, not a murderer. To be hunted down and shot like a dog doesn’t make sense. And until we get answers we’re going to do whatever we have to do,” Randall said. “He wasn't a perfect person. But violent and deserved to be killed, no. Not in 10 million years. That's not my brother.”
Omaha police said the investigation into the shooting is taking longer because multiple agencies were involved. But a detailed account could be released this week.