NORFOLK - The suspect in a Sunday morning shooting near downtown Norfolk — who then was the focus of a day-long standoff with law enforcement — is dead of suicide.
Capt. Mike Bauer of the Norfolk Police Division said 47-year-old Cory Dittman was pronounced dead by Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith — who also serves as county coroner — at about 2 a.m. Monday.
At a Monday morning press conference, Bauer also said the weapon matching the description of the one used in the initial shooting — a shotgun — was recovered at the scene.
Following the shooting, Dittman holed up in a house in the 800 to 900 block on the south side of Koenigstein Avenue. He was the only person in the house during the entire standoff, Smith said.
The Nebraska State Patrol’s tactical response team had deployed a portable phone — known as a “throw phone” — Sunday night in order to attempt contact with Dittman. Repeated attempts were made to talk to him, but they were not successful, Bauer said.
“Eventually around midnight, a search team entered the residence and conducted a very slow and methodical search within the residence. Mr. Dittman was located, deceased, in the residence and pronounced dead,” Bauer said.
Smith said he determined the manner of death to be suicide caused by a single gunshot wound to the head.
“The time of death would have been earlier that day. I’m not sure when,” Smith said.
On Sunday, shots were heard being fired inside the house Dittman was in. Later that day, multiple rounds of chemical munitions — tear gas — were deployed, as were distraction devices — flashbang grenades.
Smith said it was his understanding that most of the gunshots in the house were prior to the tear gas deployment.
“The nature of the wound was that he would have died very, very quickly. So he would not have been affected by most of, if not all of the tear gas rounds. He was found upstairs,” Smith said.
Madison County Sheriff Todd Volk said Dittman had yelled out once to law enforcement very early on in the standoff, which started shortly after the Sunday morning shooting.
“They were setting up a perimeter out there, and it was something along the lines of ... he was afraid to come out,” Volk said.
Dittman is suspected of shooting 63-year-old Leone Randall “Randy” Bussey as Bussey was in his vehicle at about 9:30 Sunday morning. Bussey drove himself to the police division and was then transported to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.
“Mr. Bussey is still in the hospital. My last update on him was three or four hours ago (around 5 or 6 a.m.), but I understand he’s stable at least,” Smith said at the press conference.
Bauer said Dittman and Bussey were acquaintances.
Smith said that because Dittman was surrounded by the police at the time of his death and the police were so heavily involved in the standoff, a grand jury will be called to investigate the death. That could happen as soon as next week, Smith said.
The Nebraska State Patrol is leading the investigation into Dittman’s death and is currently processing the scene. They had hoped to have the area of the standoff open to traffic later Monday morning, Bauer said.
Smith said the state patrol’s presence at this juncture helps to ensure a “very, very thorough investigation” by keeping multiple law enforcement agencies involved.