After Kruger slaying, police acted fast to prevent more killings -
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,

Contact the writer: Maggie O'Brien

maggie.o'    |   402-444-3100    |  

Maggie is a cops and breaking news reporter for

Rain expected to end by midmorning
3 Nebraska Board of Education candidates call for high standards
Agreement reached to end dog racing at Bluffs Run at end of 2015
Douglas County Board candidates say they aren't ruled by party
96th Street to have head-to-head traffic
At NU's helm, J.B. Milliken built the university by building relationships with state leaders
Video: Stothert says Crossroads project is 'full speed ahead,' but she won't support bond issue
Ex-Obama official urges approval of Keystone XL pipeline
Benefit to be held for family of Omaha shooting victim
Omaha Personnel Board to weigh a ‘ban-the-box’ proposal for city job applications
New Alegent Creighton Clinic to open in Council Bluffs
Grace: Your older self has a request — use sunscreen
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
Beau McCoy calls Pete Ricketts a 'convenient conservative' for immigration stance
Police ID body found near 36th, Seward Streets
World champion Crawford's promoter working to have title defense at CenturyLink Center
Hail, strong winds, heavy rain hit south-central Nebraska
'Fairly old' human skull found in Mills County
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
Omaha crash victim, 19, had touched many lives
Firefighters take on 'fully engulfed barn fire'
Council Bluffs school board approves new district headquarters
Officials announce effort to lure more veterans to Nebraska
SB 132nd Street lane closed
Shane Osborn grabs several endorsements
< >
Kelly: Huskers' glory days of '80s live on — on the small screen and on stage
The 1984 NFL draft was unusual for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and these days it's remembered in the name of a rock band, the 1984 Draft. Tonight, the band will be featured nationally on the NFL Network in a documentary about — what else? — the 1984 draft.
Kelly: Started at a dining room table, Home Instead thriving at 20 with $1B in annual revenue
The idea that Paul Hogan had studied and then hatched at his mother's table was that older people, rather than moving in with relatives or to an assisted-living center, would much prefer to stay home instead.
Breaking Brad: Nebraska GOP candidates unified against naked squirrels
Some of these Nebraska campaigns are tilting pretty far right. At a recent forum, there was a consensus that we need to ban public dancing and clothe naked squirrels in public parks.
Breaking Brad: Inside the mind of a 99-year-old real estate agent
I saw an article about a 99-year-old real estate agent who's still working. “This house is extra special. It has indoor toilets!”
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
< >
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.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for'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 »