City to pay $480G in medical costs for suspect injured after allegedly shooting police officer: reports

Taxpayers in Omaha, Neb., will pay nearly $480,000 in medical bills for a suspect whom police wounded with gunfire after he allegedly shot an officer on Sept. 11, city council members decided this week in a 6-1 vote.

The officers struck suspect John Ezell Jr., 36, multiple times after he fired at Omaha Police Gang Unit Officer Ken Fortune, 42, striking the officer in a shoulder, during a traffic stop in the city, authorities said, according to Omaha’s FOX 42.

The officer recovered quickly and was soon released from a hospital, but the suspect spent about a month recuperating, racking up medical bills totaling $479,341.25, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The city initially agreed to pay half the cost, with Ezell responsible for the remaining $239,670.63. But Tuesday’s vote means the city will pick up the suspect’s share as well, the newspaper reported.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a number of council members who will hold their nose and vote for it,” City Council President Ben Gray told the paper prior to the vote. “I’m going to be one of them. We’re obligated to do it.”

The city is constitutionally required to provide medical treatment to those who need it while in police custody, Assistant City Attorney Jeff Bloom told the World-Herald. Ezell had no health insurance, and was not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, the report said.

The fact that Ezell was injured by police makes the city liable to cover the costs, Bloom said.

Some city council members were still displeased despite approving Ezell’s medical bill.

“I think this is unfathomable that we are doing this,” council member Brinker Harding told Omaha’s KETV-TV. “I understand we have to do it, but I think this is something we should think of when we’re talking with our state senators and working something through the unicameral so situations like this are not at the expense of our taxpayers.”

Council member Vinny Palmero, however, cast the lone vote against paying Ezell’s medical bill.

“If police are acting within good faith and not in a reckless manner, as this particular case was, then we as a city should not be liable,” Palmero told the station.

Ezell, a reputed gang member, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, assault on an officer and other charges, according to court records. He was being held on $3 million bail, the World-Herald reported.

Carnival Cruise Line confirms guest went overboard after climbing railing of Carnival Fantasy

Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that the passenger who went missing from the Carnival Fantasy on Sunday went overboard after climbing a deck railing.

“Carnival Cruise Line regrets to report that the 22-year-old male guest with autism who was missing on Carnival Fantasy went overboard after climbing over the deck rail. His family believes he may have been under the mistaken assumption that he was going swimming,” the cruise line said in a statement.

“Everyone at Carnival is deeply saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with the guest’s family and friends. Our Care Team is providing assistance and support to his family and traveling companions. The guest’s family has requested privacy.”

Carnival added that it would not be providing further details or information about the incident.

The cruise line had previously released a statement confirming the guest went missing on Sunday evening while the ship was en route to Progreso, Mexico. The passenger was said to be part of a group of nine, traveling with three chaperones. “He ran without warning out of the stateroom, and after his chaperone was unsuccessful in locating him, the chaperone notified the ship’s crew,” the previous statement read.

“Once notified that the guest was missing, the ship’s crew followed all protocols, including onboard announcements and a ship-wide search. The security team reviewed closed circuit television footage of the ship’s perimeter multiple times. While in port in Progreso on Monday, the Mexican Navy provided a search-and-rescue canine to assist in the search, but there was not any conclusive result as to his whereabouts. All relevant authorities have been notified.”

Carnival Fantasy is currently on a five-day cruise that departed Mobile, Ala., on Saturday.

The ship had originally left for a five-night cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. The ship departed from Progreso at its scheduled time on Monday.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE SHIP LEAVES COUPLE STRANDED IN CUBA AFTER DEPARTING EARLY

News of the missing passenger follows a similar incident from Dec. 14, during which Carnival Cruise guest Thomas McElhany went overboard approximately 35 miles south of Islamorada, Fla., during the Victory’s trip back to Miami after a four-night cruise that made stops in Key West and Cozumel.

The United States Coast Guard suspended its search on Dec. 16 for the 26-year-old passenger. The previous day, representatives for the cruise line told Fox News that “the facts surrounding this unfortunate incident indicate it was an intentional act.”