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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 15, 1975)
1 Wednesday, October 1 5, 1 975
hsve rifle; that there were three Doberman dogs
in the house, not four; that police officer
trained in dog handling did not hava any
difficulty with the dog and that tha substance
thought to be cocaine was in fact lidoca!nea
During this planning session tha residence of
Sherdell Lewis was diagrammed and a plan for
mulated as to the location and responsibilities of
the various officers who were to participate in
serving the search warrant. A determination wet
made that two uniformed officers, John Rail is
and Stephen Miller, would be at tha front door;
that Rod Loos, a nonuni formed sheriff's deputy,
would also be at the front door, and that
Detective Bullock, a nonuniformsd (police)
officer, would also be at the front door.
Officers Loos and Raiiis were armed with
shotouns. Officers Rallis and Loos were to
announce the purpose of their being there and if .
admittance was refused Officer Loos was to be
the first through tha door with the assignment to
protect Officer Miller and to secure the house.
Officer Miller was equipped with dog fight
ing equipment. He was to be the second to enter,
and was to handle any attack from the dogs;
Officer Rallis was to be tha third officer to enter
and to secure tha house. Officers Rod Loos and
Rallis in securing the house, once inside, were to
prevent tha disposal of any controlled substance
by the occupants.
Officer Rallis was to go to tha front door be
cause he was in uniform and because the search
warrant was directed to him to serve, as well as
other lew enforcement officers, pursuant to the
order of tha county court )udge. Officer Miller
was in uniform and was selected to go to tha
door because of his ability to handle tha dogs.
Officer Rod Loos volunteered to go to the front
door, to enter the house and to protect Officer
Miller if necessary .""
The balance of tha officers at the house were
to act primarily in a supportive role and prevent
the escape from the re ids nee of anybody inside
the residence who may have been In possession cf
controlled substances. Officers were given de
signated positions around tha house. Officers
were to converge on the house on radio call from
Detective Bullock. ...
Officers Rathburn and Burkhart were dis
was open and the outside storm door of glass
warrant to keep the residence under surveillance.
Their duty was to determine whether Sherdell
Lewis was there and if his automobile was there
up to tha time of service of the warrant. The
automobile belonging to Lewis was observed in
front of that location by the police officers1 upon
their arrival at that location.
The officers observed another vehicle come to
the Potter Street residence; a person believed to
be Lewis cam out to the vehicle and sub
equently returned to the house and the vehicle
left the residence. Shortly thereafter tha officers
converged In tha area of the house and upon
signal from Detective Bullock, tha officers moved
toward tha house to serve the search warrant
UpPn PProaching the front of the
t?,"n?!tnat in,ide door of tha house
was open and the outside storm door of the glass
"?dr'8 closed. Lights were on in tha In
terior of the house, not on the exterior. Officer
Miller moved up to approximately one foot of
the door and slightly to the east portion of the
r- Puty Rod Loos assumed a position to
tna Immediate left of tha door and Officer Rallis
a position adjacent to Deputy Rod Loos.
Officer Rallis held tha search warrant against
the glass of the door and Officers Rallis and Loos
announced that they were police officers, that
they had a warrant to search at that time. Officer
Miller was within one foot of the glass part of the
door. Officer Miller observed, as did Officers Rod
Loos and Rallis, that Lewis came toward them,
walked to a distance within 6 to 8 feet of the
officers. Lewis then returned to the north side of
the room, picked up a rifle and advanced toward
the door where tf.e officers were standing.
Officers Rod Loos, Miller. Rallis and Bullock
observed Lewis, with the gun approximately
waist level, approach the front door with the
barrel of the gun pointed out the front door.
Officer Miller who was in front of tha door
moved to the east. Officer Bullock then observed
the weapon pointed in his direction. Realizing his
position. Bullock also moved to the east. Officer
Rallis dropped the search warrant, pointed his
gun at Sherdell Lewis. Officer Rod Loos broke
the bottom portion of the storm door and
warned Lewis to drop his gun.
Officer Miller stated that front, the time that
Lewis picked up the gun until tha shot was fired
approximately 10 warnings to drop the gun were
given to Lewis. When Lewis advance toward the
front door, Lewis covered a distance of approx
imately 10 to 12 feet. Lewis was approximately
2 to 3 feet from, the front door when shot.
Officer Allen Curtis, who was approximately
20 yards away from the door, heard the officers
say, "Police, we hava a warrant." He also heard
officers yell, "he has a gun" and twice heard
warnings to Lewis to "put the gun down." Prior
to the shot being fired two or three officers had
shouted, "Shoot him" or words of similar effect
to Loos. Loos fired tha one shot from a hip
position. The shot struck Lewis in tha right
portion of the abdomen just above the waist. The
shot knocked him to the floor, which was his
location when officers were able to unlock the
front door and enter tha room.
Lewis's condition was observed and an
ambulance immediately called. Another person at
the residence was taken into custody. Lewis was
taken from the scene by ambulance. A search of .
the house was commenced as well as an Investiga
tion of the incident leading up to and including
the shooting of Lewis.
The investigation revealed that Officer Miller
from the east side of the door observed a hand
and forearm immediately prior to the shooting
start to piece the rifle on the floor. Officer Miller
believed tha hand and forearm were those of
Sherdell Lewis. The investigation elso revealed
that Officer Rod Loos, at the time he shot Lewis',
did see him, saw that Lewis had a rifle in his
hand; that the rifle was pointed out tha front
door of the house.
The occupant of the house, who observed the
incident from the interior of the housft, stated
that when Lewis was shot he had tha rifle in his
right hand, it was parallel to the floor, pointed in
tha direction of the front door and at arm's
length below tha waistline. The occupant of tha
houw stated that Immediately prior to the shot
Lewis also stated, "Who is it?" Officers at the
scene indicated that Lewis had made soma
comments such as, "What tha hell is going on?"
and "What Is this?'.
Upon my arrival at tha scene of the Incident
I observed that there was a .22 caliber rifle stand
ing along the south well approximately 19" west
of the doorway. All officers were contacted with
regard to moving the weapon to that location or
whether it was in that location when the officers
Several officers stated they had observed a
gun on the floor (soma thought a rifle, some a
shotgun). None of the officers could recall
placing the rifie against the wall, though one
officer believed he observed another officer to do
so. The resident of the house recalled seeing tha
rifle in the hands of plain clothes officer but
does not recall the person who had the rifle or
what happened to the rifle.
Deputy Sheriff Rod "Loos was given a
polygraph test by polygraph examiner Robert
Cummins of Chicago. Mr, Cummins was formerly
a vice president of John Reed and Associates,
where Mr. Cummins was the chief polygraph
examiner for the firm. John Reed and Associates
is a nationally recognized polygraph firm.
The results of the polygraph examination
showed that: at the time Deputy Rod Loos went
to the residence he did not Intend to shoot
Sherdell Lewis; that Rod Loos saw Lewis at tha
time he shot him; that Lewis had tha gun pointed
out tha door at tha time of the shot; and that
Deputy Rod Loos had not tried to withhold any
information from the county attorney with re
gard to this matter; and that at the time of tha
shot Rod Loos was In fear of his own life.
Tha investigation has been unable to resolve
tha position of the gun immediately prior to the
shot. Two persons say it was pointed at the door;
one person says It was in the process of being set
down; another officer says that just before the
shot it was pointed out the door. Officers state
more than adequate warning was given prior to
the shot, but the resident of the house indicates
she did not hear warnings where she was stand
ing. Tha position of the rifle after tha shot, or
whether it was moved, is In dispute. Ballistic
tests and the location of the wound on Lewis
would indicate that the rifle was not being set
down at the time the shot was fired. Con
sequently, the position that the rifle was found in
a few minutes after the incident indicates the
rifle was moved to that positic i.
Ballistics also indicated that at the time the
shot was fired Lewis was within 2 to 3 feet of tha
door, which would indicate that tha officers had
allowed Lewis to cross almost tha entire width of
the room armed with a weapon while warnings
were being given to him to drop It, etc. There are
some factual matters as I hava indicated that
cannot be revealed. The facts do show that an
announcement was made to Lewis of the purpose
of the officers, ije. to serve e search warrant; that
they were police officers; that numerous warn
ings were given as Lewis advanced toward the
door and not heeding those warnings Lewis was
It is my determination that Deputy Sheriff
Rod Loos fired his weapon in his own defense
and in the defense of the other officers on tha
scene, as well as any other person who could have
been In the area or across the street, and that no
crime has been committed.
I would further add that I have turned over to
the F.B.I. a copy of my complete file regarding
this matter. I further requested the United States
District Attorney to furnish to me any Inform
tion he felt I should consider in this case.
Mr. Wherry had disclosed to me certain infor
mation from some of the people residing in the
area where the incident occurred and I have
taken that information into consideration In
making my determination. I have also taken into
consideration the existing firearm policies of tha
law enforcement agencies and the manner in
which those policies were Implemented by the
off icers et the scene. .
A petition drive to initiate a grand jury
investigation into the shooting death of
Sherdell Lewis has begun.
Sheila Finney, who is heading the peti
tion drive, said she expects the petitions to
be published by Thursday and then be
circulated throughout Lincoln.
According to Finney, 2,414 signatures
are required to call the grand jury, but the
group will try to obtain 3,000 "for
One of the stipulations for persons sign
ing tine petition is that they be registered
voters. Because of this, about 70 persons
flooded the Lancaster County Election
Commissioner's office after the gathering
at the Capital Wednesday to register to
According to that office, about 75 per
cent of the crowd registered to vote for the
first time and the others re-registered
because of address changes.
V CZ'"ml!myK ' SI Alii w
First Concert of tha Season
LINCOLN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Dr. Robert Anders Emiie, Conductor
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21 , 8 P.M.
Nebraska Wesleyen University campus
LYNN HARRELL, CELLIST, SOLOIST
Overture to "Naoucco" by Verdi
Concerto for Cello in D Minor by Lalo,
Lynn Harreil, soloist
Symphony No. 8 in 6 Major, Opus 88, by Dvorak
Season Tickets Available: $22, $17, 13.53 plus tax.
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Ma aacand. 'Tha Oavtt wt Mm jonaa' was an
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Still Only 10
National Marionette Theatre
An Adult Puppet Show
1 2 Noon, Friday Oct. 1 7
Another fine production
from the people who brought you
UPC Contemporary Arts
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5 Vi -, 1 k m
. I r 1 ii a YM I I
ea li k i ue i a c .-n e
Family Night Special
5-9 Wednesday Night
2 Enchiladas, 1 Taco. Beans, Chips
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