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Nebraska police officer fatally shoots teen during welfare check

Police were responding to reports of potential self-harm when an officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy.

A 17-year-old boy is dead after a police officer shot him during a welfare check in Nebraska, officials said.

The shooting happened Tuesday afternoon as officers with the Columbus Police Department carried out a welfare check on the teen, according the Nebraska State Patrol, which is conducting the investigation into the incident.

While at the residence conducting the welfare check, police made contact with the teen, who had a knife, the NSP said in a release Thursday. An officer opened fire and the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teen has been identified by the NSP as Chase Ditter, 17, of Columbus.

Police said they were initially called to a residence at around 1:00 p.m. on the 3600 Block of 39th Avenue in Columbus, about 90 miles west of Omaha. According to the Nebraska State Patrol, officers were there to check on the boy after reports that he was potentially harming himself.

“During the encounter, a Columbus police officer discharged their duty weapon, striking the subject. Another officer deployed a taser during the incident,” the NSP said.

Both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, the NSP said.

The Nebraska State Patrol Special Investigations Team is now investigating the incident. Additional information will be released when it becomes available, police said.

The NSP said the CPD requested that it take over the “in-custody death” investigation.

Columbus Public Schools placed two nearby schools, Lost Creek Elementary and Columbus High School, into “secure status” after police made the district aware of nearby police activity on Tuesday, Nicole Anderson, a spokesperson for Columbus Public Schools, said’

Anderson said the victim was a student at Columbus High School. Ditter’s obituary said he was set to graduate in May.

The obituary remembered Ditter as an “extremely intelligent and accomplished student” who was planning to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall for a cybersecurity masters program.

Ditter was the team programmer for his school’s robotics team, an officer in the Skills USA program, and was selected by his teachers to compete in multiple math competitions for his school — something he was “honored” to do, according to the obituary.

He was an avid volunteer, enjoyed traveling and began logging flight training hours, the obituary said.

Ditter had been struggling with depression since the pandemic, the obituary said, but he had been working with health care officials and was “very much looking forward to his future.”