Virgil Patlan drove to Dahlman Avenue and F Street on Saturday afternoon just as Officer Coral Walker pulled up alongside the gunman, who was walking slowly down the street.
Patlan said he was about 30 feet from the officer's car. He said he thinks Walker said something to the man that caused him to turn around. “He didn't hesitate,” Patlan said of the gunman. “He just shot at the police car. “That's when my heart dropped, because I thought he shot the officer.” Patlan said he didn't duck down in his car or even think of driving away. If the officer had been shot, Patlan said, he would have made sure the shooter didn't escape.
“My whole intent was to keep an eye on the guy so the police could catch him,” Patlan said. “I just wanted to make sure he was caught.”
Patlan had jumped in his car shortly after he saw the gunman walking on the sidewalk across the street from his house. Patlan had been playing in his front yard near 33rd and E Streets with his two toddler grandchildren.
Patlan didn't know then that the man already had shot Aaron Anderson, 31, in Anderson's apartment building at 3104 Hascall St. He didn't know that the man had wounded Angel Cabrera, 46, at 3901 S. 33rd St., about 20 minutes later. But he had heard gunshots.
When Patlan first saw him, the man was heading for the alley where Pascual Bautista-Raymundo, 25, had been working on his maroon Ford Mustang earlier that day, said Traci Petersen, a neighbor whose garage is directly across from Bautista-Raymundo's yard and garage.
Petersen had waved at Bautista-Raymundo just 20 minutes before he was fatally shot in the back of the neck. She had seen Bautista-Raymundo and his brother talking and joking in the backyard.
Petersen, 28, heard the gunshots while she was in her house getting ready to go to a graduation party. Her fiance, Corey Schwalm, 29, was playing with their 15-month-old daughter, Vanessa, in her room.
Petersen said she went outside and saw Bautista-Raymundo lying on the ground next to his car with a pool of blood spreading out from his neck. She said Bautista-Raymundo's brother was crouched over him, sobbing. She screamed for help and called 911. Rebecca Barrientos-Patlan, Patlan's wife, rushed over and tried to revive Bautista-Raymundo.
“It was pure chaos,” Petersen said. “I never in my life expected to see someone dead just across the alley from my garage. It could have been me, too, had I stayed outside a bit longer.”
After Patlan saw the gunman and got in his car, he drove down Burlington Street, turned left on 34th Street, and then took another left onto F Street. He ran into Phil Lordemann, who had been running after the gunman across the F Street bridge toward Dahlman Avenue.
The man had just fatally shot Lordemann's friend Anthony Vazzano, 25, while Vazzano was mowing in the side yard of a home Lordemann owns at 34th and F Streets.
Lordemann said the gunman was about a half-block ahead of him on the bridge. The man looked back once while Lordemann was hollering at him to stop. Lordemann didn't see him holding a gun.
“He hurt my buddy. I didn't care if I got shot, too,” Lordemann said. “He had to be stopped.”
Lordemann told Patlan to follow the man in his car.
Patlan said that after the gunman fired at Walker, the two exchanged several more shots.
“I just heard 'Pop! Pop! Pop!' all at once,” Patlan said. “Then the suspect fell.”
The gunman, who was taken to Creighton University Medical Center, where he died, remained unidentified Monday night.
Police said the man had no ID on his body. He had no distinguishable marks, such as tattoos, or family members stepping forward to provide clues to his past.
Police say the man, known for now as KK Doe, knew only Anderson, the first shooting victim. The others apparently were shot at random, officials said.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who oversees the Coroner's Office, said police also are trying to determine the gunman's motive.“They're trying to answer any questions that are right now unanswered,” Kleine said.
One person who could provide some answers is an accomplice, whose whereabouts remained unknown Monday night. The gunman and the accomplice had showed up about 2 p.m. Saturday at Anderson's door.
After Anderson was shot, the accomplice fled in Anderson's car. The gunman then set off on foot through the neighborhood.
Creighton officials did not release the conditions of Anderson and Cabrera on Monday night, but a Creighton spokeswoman said Monday afternoon that their conditions hadn't changed from the night before. Cabrera had been admitted in critical condition. Anderson's condition had not been released.
“Our community is going to stick together,” Patlan said. “We will get through this.