Police identify murder victim as Kwik Shop shooter

Published: Sep. 15, 2016 at 8:41 AM CDT
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Lincoln Police have identified the suspect in the murder of Kwik Shop Clerk Robert Hanna on July 7, 2016.

According to Lincoln Police, 20-year-old Rodzela J. Jones, of Jonestown, Mississippi, was responsible for the Kwik Shop murder. Police say Jones was later murdered in his hometown.

Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said that Jones was in Lincoln for a short amount of time, possibly only a few hours. He was in Nebraska working with his family.

Evidence that led to identifying Jones was witnesses and law enforcement identifying him from a surveillance video, and phone records that place Jones in Lincoln at the time of the murder.

Bliemeister said that it is unknown why Jones targeted the Kwik Shop, and and there is no reason to believe that Jones knew Hanna.

Hanna's family feels a sense of relief knowing they have a suspect. "It does bring some closure to the family, but none of this will ever bring Bob back so it's been very difficult," said Jeni Bohlmeyer, Hanna's cousin.

She said it would've been nice to look Jones in the eye and ask him why he pulled the trigger. "He may have never answered us. So it doesn't necessarily mean we would've ever got the closure we needed from that," Bohlymeyer said.

On Thursday, July 7, police received calls from two witnesses around 1:30 a.m. about a robbery in progress.

Police responded to the Kwik Shop, near 14th and Adams, to find 51-year-old Robert Hanna had been shot in the head and killed.

On July 25, Lincoln Police released surveillance video of the man believed to be responsible for the murder. Police say they received many tips after this video was released.

Lincoln/Lancaster County Crime Stoppers offered a $1,000 reward in the case. Kwik Shop Inc. offered an additional $25,00 for information leading to an arrest an conviction.

Below is a press release from the Lincoln Police Department regarding the situation:

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, at 1:30 a.m., members of the Lincoln Police Department were called to Kwik Shop, 2940 N. 14th Street, on a reported robbery in progress. Multiple officers arrived and found the employee, Robert Hanna unresponsive, with gunshot wound injuries. Despite immediate rescue attempts, 51-year-old Robert Hanna died at the scene. Through witness accounts and review of video surveillance, the person responsible was described as a black male, 5’2” - 5’6”, with a medium build, wearing a black short sleeve t-shirt, camouflage pants, a black glove on his right hand and a white cloth covering his head. Photos and video footage were released to the public and also sent to law enforcement through national distribution networks. During extensive follow-up into the case, 20-year-old Rodzela J. Jones was identified as a suspect in the homicide. On July 19, 2016, just days before this information was received, Jones was found murdered in Jonestown, Mississippi. Without the ability to interview Jones, our investigators diligently tracked other evidence needed to either support or disprove the theory that Jones was involved. These efforts included analyzing phone records, working with other law enforcement agencies and interviewing individuals with Jones in the days leading up to the homicide. Evidence obtained supports the belief that Jones was responsible for the homicide. That evidence includes, but is not limited to: Family members and law enforcement officials identified him in video surveillance footage, Individuals confirmed he was wearing the same clothing as the suspect on the day of the shooting, and Phone records and interviews with family place him in Lincoln at the time of the shooting. Why Rodzela Jones targeted that convenience store and what led him to fire the handgun remain unknown. This case will be reclassified as cleared by exception; however, any additional information received will be examined.