- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A man shot and wounded Tuesday morning by a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy had fired a gun at another deputy and had earlier threatened to shoot police if confronted, authorities said.

A deputy stopped Taylor Culbertson, 32, of Omaha, in a west Omaha convenience store parking lot around 7:30 a.m. after the store’s clerk told the deputy that he suspected Culbertson was drunk and had bought a six-pack of beer, Sheriff Tim Dunning said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

The 9-year veteran of the department left the store and ordered Culbertson to get out of his sport utility vehicle, then called for backup, Dunning said. When Culbertson got out, he fired at the deputy. A struggle ensued over the handgun, which appeared to have jammed after one shot, Dunning said. Another deputy who arrived on the scene shot Culbertson “more than one time.”

Dunning declined to say how many shots the deputy fired or how many times and where Culbertson was hit. The sheriff also said he’d name the two deputies, who were not injured, “at a later time.” Both deputies were placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy in officer-involved shootings, while an investigation is conducted.

Culbertson was taken to Nebraska Medicine in critical condition. Dunning said Tuesday afternoon that he did not have an updated condition for Culbertson. Hospital spokeswoman Jenny Nowatzke said Culbertson was still there at 3 p.m. Tuesday, but said she could not release his medical condition.

On June 8, an officer safety bulletin sent out by the sheriff’s department warned that Culbertson was likely armed and had “had made comments that he would shoot police if they pulled him over of if police come to Culbertson’s residence.” It was based on a warning from an acquaintance of Culbertson’s who said the man had become disturbed and irrational and had been abusing alcohol since his father died last year.

Online court records for Nebraska show Culbertson was sentenced to 18 months of probation and ordered to pay nearly $1,900 in restitution for a Sept. 15, 2001, assault in Lancaster County.

The likelihood that Culbertson’s gun jammed as he fired may have saved the officer’s life, Dunning said. The deputy also benefited from the location of the shooting - just blocks from the sheriff’s department, allowing backup to arrive within seconds.

“This is the event in your career that you hope never happens,” Dunning said. “Today is certainly more dangerous for law enforcement than it was when I started in this business 44 years ago.”

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