Grand Island shooting suspect arrested near Henderson

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 10:40 AM CDT
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The man suspected of shooting 31-year-old Gary Zierke III early Thursday morning in Grand Island is now in custody in the Hall County Jail.

The Nebraska State Patrol tells Local4 they made the arrest shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday near Henderson. Antoine Johnson, of Lincoln, was located in a ditch near the intersection of Road B and Road 9 just south of Exit 342 of Interstate 80. Police found him trying to conceal himself in the ditch upon their arrival.

The arrest is the result of an 18-hour search for the suspect between Aurora and Henderson.

The search started around 12:50 a.m. Thursday, a trooper observed a Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 near Aurora. The vehicle matched the description of one being sought by the Grand Island Police Department in connection with a shooting that occurred approximately 30 minutes earlier.

The trooper initiated a traffic stop near mile marker 335. Two occupants of the vehicle were quickly taken into custody, but a third occupant fled the traffic stop on foot. Additional troopers and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene to search the area. The person who fled the traffic stop was identified as the Grand Island shooting suspect.

Law enforcement continued searching the area throughout the day. An arrest warrant was issued for Johnson in Hall County. They eventually found the suspect hiding in a ditch.

NSP transported Johnson to Hall County Jail. The Grand Island Police Department is leading the investigation.

Johnson is suspected in the shooting of Zierke III, also of Lincoln, near the intersection of Sycamore and Oklahoma Streets in Grand Island at 12:20 a.m.

Johnson is expected to be charged with attempt of a Class I/1A/1B/1C/1D Felony, Use of a Firearm to commit a felony, Assault in the 1st Degree, and Use of a Firearm to commit a Felony. Johnson will be turning 34-years-old on Friday.

Grand Island police said Zierke III was found lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.

Emergency crews took him to CHI Health St. Francis hospital in Grand Island. He was later life-flighted to an Omaha hospital where as of Thursday afternoon he was listed in critical condition.

Grand Island police believe the shooting was drug-related.