A melee broke out Thursday after a manslaughter sentencing in Douglas County District Court.
District Judge Kimberly Pankonin sentenced Mark E. Rice, 51, to 40 to 50 years in prison for the 2012 stabbing death of John L. Withrow, 47.
Afterward, a mentally challenged relative of Rice was inconsolable. Rice had cared for him, relatives said.
As he sat on a bench outside the courtroom, the young man became increasingly combative.
As sheriff's deputies stood by, his family held him against the bench to prevent him from erupting.
The deputies allowed relatives to try to calm him. He did not, lashing out and getting louder.
A dozen sheriff's deputies, about four Omaha police officers and several paramedics responded.
The officers and deputies stood back as paramedics tended to him.
Just as it appeared that the man had calmed down, he burst off the bench and made a bolt toward the elevators, falling to the floor. Deputies restrained him.
The commotion -- echoing throughout the courthouse -- brought out dozens of courthouse employees and observers. Two news media members began to videotape the scene.
Members of the defendant's family went to Omaha police, asking them to stop a reporter from videotaping the melee with his phone.
The police officers declined.
"That didn't work out too well the last time," an officer said, apparently referring to an incident in which four Omaha police officers were fired in part because they allegedly attempted to destroy a recording of a controversial arrest.
A young woman then tried to rip the camera phone out of a World-Herald reporter's hands. A sheriff's deputy intervened -- telling the woman that the reporter had a right to record in a public building like the courthouse.
The young man was taken for evaluation at a local hospital. Family members were encouraged to meet him there.