A 26-year-old man who was shot and killed Wednesday by police after he opened fire on officers was a known gang member who police had been seeking to arrest in connection with a 2014 shooting.
Marcus D. Wheeler had been evading officers since a warrant for his arrest was issued in September, charging him in the shooting of Antonio Martin near 60th Street and Curtis Avenue.
Three officers attempted to confront Wheeler in the back of a house at 3057 Martin Ave. on Wednesday, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said.
“Gunshots were exchanged between the suspect and the officers,” and both Wheeler and Officer Kerrie Orozco were fatally hit, Schmaderer said.
Officers found a semiautomatic handgun next to Wheeler, who was shot multiple times, he added.
Police had been unable to find Wheeler for months and had told the public last year to consider Wheeler armed and dangerous.
Several days before he was shot, Martin told police that Wheeler had threatened him on Facebook, Douglas County Court documents say.
Wheeler had also been charged in connection with two earlier shootings, but the charges were dropped, according to records.
In 2013, Wheeler was charged as an accessory in a June 2007 slaying. Wheeler was also accused of shooting at an inhabited home in March 2013, attempting to cause serious bodily injury to Ashley Bordeaux. The Douglas County attorney dismissed charges in both cases.
In 2008, Wheeler was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Wheeler got out on supervised release, but that was revoked in 2013. He returned to prison and was released in February 2014.
On Wednesday, police handcuffed a woman at the shooting scene and took her into custody for questioning.
At the scene, Anthony Williams identified the woman as his daughter, Erica Coppage-Williams, 24. She recently moved into a house on Martin Avenue, he said. Wheeler and Coppage-Williams had a child in 2009, court records show.
Coppage-Williams appeared distraught in her front yard and occasionally let out tearful screams as police talked to her.
Williams paced outside the crime tape and was agitated that he couldn’t be with his daughter. He said his family is worried about Coppage and her children’s safety, but police wouldn’t let him or his family members go into Coppage-William’s home.
“I just want to go down there and make sure my grandkids are all right,” Williams said.
World-Herald staff writer Alia Conley contributed to this report.