After Kruger slaying, police acted fast to prevent more killings - Omaha.com
Published Friday, September 6, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 11:03 pm
After Kruger slaying, police acted fast to prevent more killings

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said all the key players in the first-degree murder case against Nikko A. Jenkins are behind bars.

“We don't have any reason to believe the public should be in fear anymore,” Schmaderer said Thursday.

The chief said there could have been more killings had authorities not quickly caught up to Jenkins. When he was arrested last week, Jenkins, a convicted felon with a violent past, had two guns on him.

Jenkins is one of six people who have been arrested in connection with four homicides. He is the only one to be charged with murder. Authorities said all six defendants could face additional charges as the investigation continues.

Schmaderer and Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning declined to specify how authorities connected Jenkins to the slayings of Andrea Kruger, Curtis Bradford, Jorge Cajiga-Ruiz and Juan Uribe-Pena.

However, in an interview with The World-Herald, Dunning said technology helped authorities track Jenkins from shortly after the Kruger killing until Jenkins' arrest. He declined to elaborate.

Still, there were anxious moments as police and sheriff's investigators worked to build their case.

Shortly after authorities began tracking Jenkins, they feared that he was on to them. And at one point, they thought he might have fled to Kansas City, Mo.

“He had gone underground,” Schmaderer said. “We thought he was on the run.”

But Jenkins was still in Omaha. Authorities eventually tracked him to a relative's home, where he was arrested Aug. 29.

High-resolution security cameras also helped solve the case, said Dunning, who previously acknowledged that at least one image of Kruger's stolen sport utility vehicle was captured on a surveillance tape.

“Had this occurred maybe 10 years ago, this might have been a whodunit,” the sheriff he said. “If you can't corroborate what people tell you, it becomes almost meaningless.”

Schmaderer said that before Kruger was killed, police were looking into a connection between the earlier unsolved homicides. Investigators had noted that weapons used in the earlier killings were of the same type.

Cajiga-Ruiz and Uribe-Pena were shot to death Aug. 11 in South Omaha. Bradford was shot and killed Aug. 19 in north Omaha. Kruger was shot to death Aug. 21 in a suburban area of northwest Omaha.

After Kruger was killed, Crime Stoppers began receiving calls about Jenkins, Schmaderer said. Tips about all four homicides started to come in, and authorities began to connect the dots.

Deputies were already aware of Jenkins and the fact that he had been released from prison just before the slayings, Dunning said. “He's kind of a well-known guy.”

Schmaderer said that once authorities zeroed in on Jenkins and began tracking his movements, they knew the clock was ticking.

“He would have killed again,” he said. “We knew it was a race against time.”

Jenkins, 26, had his first court appearance Thursday, where a judge denied bail.

After the hearing, relatives of Kruger and Bradford supported one another and talked about the need for justice.

“It was evil on Earth,” said Michael-Ryan Kruger, Andrea Kruger's husband, who attended Jenkins' hearing. “I needed to at least see him in person.”

Two others arrested in the case, Anthony Wells and Erica Jenkins, also appeared in court Thursday.

The judge set bail at $1 million for Wells, 30, who is charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Erica Jenkins, one of Nikko's sisters, is being held on $350,000 bail in two counts of assault of a confined person, charges that grew out of a jail scuffle.

Erica Jenkins, who is also being held on a criminal mischief warrant out of Sarpy County, shouted at court officials as her bail was being set. “Why you keep (expletive) with my bail?” she hollered.

Douglas County Judge Joseph Caniglia asked her if she wanted a muzzle.

“Do you want a (expletive) muzzle?” Erica Jenkins shot back.

Hands cuffed, she toppled the lectern that inmates stand near during arraignments. A handful of corrections officers pounced on her and ushered her out of the jailhouse courtroom.

World-Herald staff writer Todd Cooper contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: 402-444-3100, maggie.obrien@owh.com

Contact the writer: Maggie O'Brien

maggie.o'brien@owh.com    |   402-444-3100    |  

Maggie is a cops and breaking news reporter for Omaha.com.

Sioux City riverboat casino prepares to close, still hoping to be saved
Omaha high schoolers to help canvass for Heartland 2050
Mizzou alumni aim to attract veterinary students to Henry Doorly Zoo
Grant ensures that Sioux City can start building children's museum
Party looks to 'nudge' women into public office in Iowa
For birthday, Brownell-Talbot student opts to give, not get
Sole big donor to Beau McCoy says he expects nothing in return
Two taken to hospital after fire at Benson home
Grace: Pipe organ concert a tribute to couple's enduring love
Omaha-area jails and ERs new front line in battling mental illness
Convicted killer Nikko Jenkins might await his sentence in prison
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
Civil rights hearing to consider voting policies in Midwest
Firefighters battle brush fire near Fontenelle Forest
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
Explosion near 29th, Woolworth damages vehicles
Omaha police arrest man, 19, accused in March shooting
Earth gets its day in the sun at Elmwood Park
Beau McCoy strikes Obama doll in TV ad; Democrats are not happy
Keystone XL pipeline backers blast 'political expediency' as foes hail ruling to delay decision
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Dickson’s Week in Review, April 13-19
On Twitter some guy tweeted that the spring game isn’t taken as seriously as a regular-season contest. What was your first clue? When the head coach entered waving a cat aloft?
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »