The suspect in a Sunday morning shooting near downtown Norfolk — who then was the focus of a day-long standoff with law enforcement — is dead of suicide.
Capt. Mike Bauer of the Norfolk Police Division said 47-year-old Cory Dittman was pronounced dead by Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith — who also serves as county coroner — at about 2 a.m. Monday.
At a Monday morning press conference, Bauer also said the weapon matching the description of the one used in the initial shooting — a shotgun — was recovered at the scene.
Following the shooting, Dittman holed up in a house in the 800 to 900 block on the south side of Koenigstein Avenue. He was the only person in the house during the entire standoff, Smith said.
The Nebraska State Patrol’s tactical response team had deployed a portable phone — known as a “throw phone” — Sunday night in order to attempt contact with Dittman. Repeated attempts were made to talk to him, but they were not successful, Bauer said.
“Eventually around midnight, a search team entered the residence and conducted a very slow and methodical search within the residence. Mr. Dittman was located, deceased, in the residence and pronounced dead,” Bauer said.
Smith said he determined the manner of death to be suicide caused by a single gunshot wound to the head.
“The time of death would have been earlier that day. I’m not sure when,” Smith said.
On Sunday, shots were heard being fired inside the house Dittman was in. Later that day, multiple rounds of chemical munitions — tear gas — were deployed, as were distraction devices — flashbang grenades.
Smith said it was his understanding that most of the gunshots in the house were prior to the tear gas deployment.
“The nature of the wound was that he would have died very, very quickly. So he would not have been affected by most of, if not all of the tear gas rounds. He was found upstairs,” Smith said.
Madison County Sheriff Todd Volk said Dittman had yelled out once to law enforcement very early on in the standoff, which started shortly after the Sunday morning shooting.
“They were setting up a perimeter out there, and it was something along the lines of ... he was afraid to come out,” Volk said.
Dittman is suspected of shooting 63-year-old Leone Randall “Randy” Bussey as Bussey was in his vehicle at about 9:30 Sunday morning. Bussey drove himself to the police division and was then transported to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.
“Mr. Bussey is still in the hospital. My last update on him was three or four hours ago (around 5 or 6 a.m.), but I understand he’s stable at least,” Smith said at the press conference.
Bauer said Dittman and Bussey were acquaintances.
Smith said that because Dittman was surrounded by the police at the time of his death and the police were so heavily involved in the standoff, a grand jury will be called to investigate the death. That could happen as soon as next week, Smith said.
The Nebraska State Patrol is leading the investigation into Dittman’s death and is currently processing the scene. They had hoped to have the area of the standoff open to traffic later Monday morning, Bauer said.
Smith said the state patrol’s presence at this juncture helps to ensure a “very, very thorough investigation” by keeping multiple law enforcement agencies involved.
Posted 10:54 p.m. Sunday
Suspect in shooting named
The man holed up in a house on Koenigstein Avenue after allegedly shooting another man Sunday morning has been identified.
Capt. Mike Bauer with the Norfolk Police Division said during a press conference that Cory Dittman, 47, of Norfolk is the man in question.
Dittman is no stranger to law enforcement, with multiple arrests and convictions on a variety of charges, most notably first-degree arson and terroristic threats in 2013, for which he was sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.
He has also been convicted of possession of methamphetamine.
Bauer said the length of the standoff — 12 hours as of the time of the 9:30 p.m. press conference — was due to working for a peaceful resolution.
“And that’s for him to come outside. During some of the initial attempts to contact (Dittman), there were shots fired,” by Dittman, Bauer said.
“So we know he’s armed and dangerous. That slows things down. Nobody wants to go into a house where there’s an armed individual. We don’t want that confrontation. We want it to end peacefully,” he said.
Around 6 p.m., chemical munitions were deployed into the home Dittman was in, with hopes of getting him to come out voluntarily.
“That has been unsuccessful. We continued to attmept to make contact with him through the negotiators and the people right there on scene up close to the house. And unfortunately, he’s not responding to us,” Bauer said.
Law enforcement has not had either verbal or visual contact with Dittman, though when the chemicals were deployed, Dittman did fire additional gunshots.
Bauer said witnesses to the shooting early on had indicated that Dittman had a shotgun. Ingelligence had given law enforcement “some other options as well,” Bauer said.
“There may be multiple firearms.”
The victim, who has not been officially identified, has had surgeries but remains in critical condition at Faith Regional, Bauer said.
Cell phone and landline phone contact with Dittman had been unsuccessful throughout the day, so attempts had been made to contact him via use of bullhorns and PA systems, Bauer said.
The neighborhood Dittman had holed up in had been without power for most of the day and on lockdown. Bauer said power had been restored a couple of hours prior to the press conference by using an armored vehicle to get close enough to pull the individual meter to the house.
When asked if the neighborhood was still on lockdown, Bauer said the situation was still very dangerous and fluid.
“There’s a lot of unknowns out there. We do have a perimeter set up. We’re trying to accomodate getting people back into their homes if they’re not in the general vicinity but yet within the perimeter. We’re trying to work with people, but it’s still a dangerous place,” Bauer said.
He said law enforcement, including the Madison County Shreriff’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol, had been pulling out all of the options they have available, including the use of a drone.
When asked about law enforcement rushing into the house, Bauer said, “There’s not timeline on forcing that option.”
Posted 6:24 p.m.
Suspect not coming out after shots fired
NORFOLK — Around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a law enforcement officer on a bullhorn could be heard asking a suspect holed up in a house to come out.
The officer’s voice addressed the suspect and told him to come out without any weapons with his hands held high.
An estimated 30 law enforcement officers from at least four agencies kept anyone from seeing what actually was happening at the blue house where the suspect is believed to have been holed up since about 9:30 a.m. He is wanted for allegedly shooting another man in a car at that time.
The otherwise mostly quiet residential neighborhood near downtown Norfolk was kept on edge all day by the heavy presence of law enforcement, with assistance from the Norfolk Fire Division and Nebraska Game and Parks Division for crowd control.
By 7 p.m., the condition of the suspect, who has yet to be publicly identified, was unknown. Prior to that, about 30 shots were fired, some of which were believed to be tear gas.
Those standing downwind about two to three blocks from the house at times found it difficult to breathe.
Posted 6:24 p.m.
More shots fired
As of 6:06 p.m. and continuing until at least 6:20 p.m., at least 15 shots were heard coming from the area of the house where the alleged shooter is holed up.
There were at two distinct and different sounds of shots being fired.
Just prior to those shots, Capt. Mike Bauer with the Norfolk Police Division said no contact had been made with the suspect following the use of a Nebraska State Patrol robot that attempted to break the door of the house down.
“The suspect barricaded the doors, and the robot was not able to make very much progress,” Bauer said.
Law enforcement had been unable to make any contact with the suspect for several hours.
“The only contact we were having was the indiscriminate firing of (the suspect’s) firearm inside the residence,” Bauer said.
He said he had hoped the conflict could be resolved peacefully.
A reporter on scene believes that tear gas has been used but that information has not been confirmed at this time.
Updated 5:23 p.m.
Police knock down door of residence
NORFOLK — Law enforcement officers used an armored vehicle about 4:30 to 4:40 p.m. Sunday to knock down the front door of a suspect who is holed up in a north central Norfolk house.
Capt. Mike Bauer of the Norfolk Police Division said police used the armored vehicle from the Nebraska State Patrol and were using a robot in an attempt to make contact with the suspect.
The blue house is located on Koenigstein Avenue near Ninth Street. Bauer said as of shortly before 5 p.m., police had not been able to make contact with the suspect, who is believed to be alone.
No names were being released at this time but additional details likely would be released later, he said.
The armed suspect, who is believed to have shot another man multiple times about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, reportedly fired at law enforcement officers off and on during the day.
A resident of the area said electricity had been shut off to the neighborhood since about mid-morning.
Story updated 3:10 p.m.
NORFOLK — There have been shots fired from the suspect who is alleged to have shot another man in a residential area of north central Norfolk on Sunday morning.
Capt. Mike Bauer of the Norfolk Police Division said law enforcement officers from several agencies have expanded the perimeter around the house where the suspect is located.
Police are asking people to stay away from the area until the situation is resolved. The shots have been fired off and on since the man holed himself up in a house, Bauer said.
Bauer said law enforcement officials were waiting for additional resources as of about 3 p.m. Sunday. He said police have been contacting the suspect with a bullhorn in an attempt to negotiate with him.
Police believe they have established a safe perimeter but respectfully ask the public to avoid the area.
“We are in a holding pattern," Bauer said.
Law enforcement agencies at one time or another since 9:30 a.m. have included the Norfolk Police Division, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Stanton County Sheriff’s Department, Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Game and Parks Division.
Lots of people could be seen at many of the locations watching the situation from behind barricades, including at least one man who had binoculars.
Original story posted at noon on June 9.
Man shot, another man holed up in residential area
NORFOLK — Law enforcement from three agencies were assisting the Norfolk Police Division following an apparent shooting that is believed to have begun about 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Capt. Mike Bauer of the Norfolk Police Division asked Sunday late morning that the public avoid the area as it is an on-going situation with a possible shooter. He said the situation could take hours to resolve.
Bauer did confirm witnesses’ reports to the Daily News that a man shot another man “multiple times” in the residential area of central Norfolk.
The man drove himself to the Norfolk Police Division, where he was taken to Faith Regional Health Services by Norfolk Fire & Rescue. The man is in serious condition and is expected to live, Bauer said.
The man who police believe shot the other man is holed up in a house between the 700 and 900 block of Koenigstein Avenue on Sunday morning. He is believed to be armed and by himself, Bauer said.
A witness who lives on Ninth Street who did not wish to give her name told the Daily News she heard two men yelling, then a single shot. She said it was a loud blast, possibly a rifle or shotgun, at about 9:30 a.m.
Bauer said police were contacted about 9:35 a.m. Sunday.