Omaha man recounts taking down active shooter at southwest Hy-Vee on Wednesday

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) An Omaha man who lives just a few blocks from the Hy-Vee where shots were fired Tuesday night had stopped at the 180th and Q location last night to pick up some empty boxes to use for his six new puppies.

Then he heard gunfire.

Investigators say 21-year-old Jacob Muhle had fired a number of shots at cars and inside the grocery store.

"I took two steps in and heard 'pop-pop.' Turned around and saw a kid with a gun shooting at cars. I ran back in and said, 'shooter. Get down,” Wenzl said.

Over the years, Tom Wenzl of Omaha thought long and hard about what he would do if he ever found himself in an active shooter situation.

"There are some tough things that have happened in my life and brought me to that point. I also said that when the Von Maur shooting happened. What would I do? I'm not one who runs away," said Wenzl.

Tuesday night at the southwest Omaha Hy-Vee, he chose to fight over flight as he watched the gunman shoot out a security camera and several windows.

"When he went left, I hauled ass. The first checkout had a cart. Same for the second check-out. The 3rd one was empty. I boogied in there. I hunkered down -- he was in 5 or 6 -- I crouched and waited. When he came through, that's when I tackled him," said Wenzl.

Deputy Chief Scott Gray had been shopping last night at the Hy-Vee and heard the shots. He rushed over to secure the suspect's gun -- and broke some bones in his hand in the process.

"He said two more seconds and that kid would be dead. I had him in my sights and ready to pull," said Wenzl. "I asked him why was doing this and he kept saying, 'you're not a hero. You're not a hero.' I don’t think he intended to shoot anyone. I think he wanted death by cop."

Tom Wenzl doesn't consider himself a hero.

He just reacted to what's in his DNA -- having wrestled as a young man and being a bouncer and security over the years.

Deputy Chief Gray, as well as many people social media pages, agree, what Tom did was heroic, saving lives.

Muhle has been booked on a number of charges including attempted felony assault.