The first female police officer to die in the line of duty in Omaha history, 29-year-old Kerrie Orozco, was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon while serving an arrest warrant. Officer Orozco was a Walnut, Iowa, native and a resident of Council Bluffs.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer says Orozco was with several other officers on a fugitive task force. “The fugitive officers were attempting to locate and arrest a suspect who had a felony warrant for first-degree assault as the result of a shooting investigation,” Chief Schmaderer says. “The officers observed the suspect on foot. At this location, the suspect fired several gunshots at officers.”
The officers returned fire and the suspect was also killed. He’s identified as 26-year-old Marcus Wheeler, a convicted felon and a known gang member. The chief says Officer Orozco was married and had three children. “She has a step-daughter and a step-son,” Schmaderer says. “Kerrie had a newborn baby that was born February 17th.”
That newborn, Olivia, was Orozco’s first child. She was born premature and has been hospitalized since birth. The infant was due to be released from the hospital today and Orozco was to begin her maternity leave today as well.
Schmaderer says the entire community is mourning the loss of this fine woman who had served on the Omaha PD for more than seven years.
“She was a tremendous officer and an even better person,” the chief says. “She coached baseball since 2009 in the North Omaha Boys and Girls Club, she volunteered with the Special Olympics, she was president of the Police Officers’ Ball to benefit the Special Olympics, she took in rescue dogs, she was a Girl Scout mentor, she spoke at Girls Inc. frequently.”
Schmaderer says Officer Orozco was a treasured member of the department and her death is tragedy.
“The city of Omaha owes her a debt of gratitude, and her family, like no other,” he says. The shooting is still under investigation. Baby Olivia remains hospitalized in Omaha.
Orozco talked about her work in a video.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds released statements on Orozco’s death:
“I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Kerrie Orozco,” said Branstad. “As a former military policeman, I am keenly aware of the dangers law enforcement face every single day on the job. Officer Orozco served with integrity and was a model peace officer. My thoughts and prayers are with her newborn daughter and her entire family.”
“Officer Kerrie Orozco went to work every day to serve her community and keep her neighbors safe,” said Reynolds. “This is a devastating loss of a dedicated public servant, community member and new mother. I offer my deepest sympathy to the family of Officer Orozco.”
Photos courtesy of the Omaha Police Department.