Omaha recorded its third homicide of the new year when a man was gunned down Thursday at the service station where he worked.
Milton E. Jackson, 54, died at Creighton University Medical Center. He was shot inside the Shell Rapid Lube near 114th Street and West Center Road.
Police said just after 11 a.m., someone walked into the station and shot Jackson, the shop's assistant manager.
Emergency dispatchers described the shooter as a tall and thin white male, believed to be a teenager. He was seen wearing a tan Carhartt jacket and red hat.
Omaha police have not said whether the shooting resulted from a robbery attempt or another situation.
Capt. Greg Gonzalez said the shooter fled the scene on foot, heading southeast, but police believe he got into a red vehicle with Iowa license plates at some point and drove away.
Dispatchers said a car fitting that description was seen leaving the area at speeds up to 100 mph.
Students at a few elementary schools nearby were not allowed outside for recess immediately following the incident, said Peggy Rupprecht, spokeswoman for Westside Community Schools.
Police were still searching for the shooter Thursday night. So were members of the Iowa State Patrol after the red vehicle was spotted in the Neola, Iowa, area.
Melissa Luschen, wife of the lube shop's manager, said she was shocked when her husband sent her an unusual text message that he would call her as soon as he could.
She said her husband, Quintin Luschen, and Jackson were friends for 14 years.
“Milton doesn't deserve this,” she said. “He was a good man. He would do anything for anybody.”
People familiar with the employee said Jackson cut the grass for a neighboring restaurant and helped others whenever he could.
Employees of International Minute Press said they often took their cars to Jackson and described him as a great man to work with.
“He always had friendly words,” said Fred Jalass, owner of International Minute Press, which is across the street from Shell Rapid Lube. “He was a very trustworthy man.”
Carol Kozel, also an employee of International Minute Press, said Jackson was “a gentle soul.”
Luschen said she doesn't believe it was a robbery attempt but rather a “personal” matter. “There's got to be a motive behind this,” she said.
She said the service station had been burglarized before but never robbed by a gunman.
Luschen said Jackson and his wife recently moved into a home near the shop and that Jackson walked to work everyday.
Terry Luft, district manager for Shell Rapid Lube, said the shop will not reopen until next week.
He said Jackson worked for the company for about 10 years and was a family man, always taking care of his autistic son.
“Our condolences go out to the family,” Luft said.
Authorities ask that anyone with information about the case contact CrimeStoppers at 444-STOP.
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