SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– On Friday, June 3, the Springfield Police Department Leadership Council held their annual departmental awards ceremony recognizing various officers’ achievements— and one citizen. The survivor of an October 2021 hostage situation.
On October 17, 2021, Springfield Police responded to an officer-involved shooting at a South Kansas Expressway Kum & Go. An officer approached a suspect and received fire, with a bullet passing through the officer’s pant leg, before the suspect fled the scene to a nearby residence.
Shortly after, dispatch received a call that a man had broken into the caller’s residence and was holding her husband, Zachary Omans, at gunpoint.
“It was one of those situations where whether or not something was going to happen to me, the Lord was going to take care of me,” Omans said.
While the suspect, 40-year-old Douglas Knakmuhs, had let Omans’ wife and child go, Omans was used as a hostage by Knakmuhs.
What unfolded was a 35-minute long standoff between Knakmuhs, SPD and Omans caught in the middle. When police breached the backdoor of the residence, Knakmuhs attempted to fire at the officers but was stopped by Omans.
“They breached the door, I moved (the gun) out of the way, I didn’t even know the shots went off,” Omans said.
Knakmuhs was shot by an officer and would die from his wounds after being transported to the hospital. Omans was unharmed.
Omans was awarded the Citizen Service Medal for his role in the situation— the highest honor a citizen can be awarded by the Springfield Police Department.
“He was in fear of his life through that whole situation and we were going to rescue him, and he thought enough in the situation to realize, ‘Hey, I need to do something to help protect the officers too,'” Chief of Police Paul Williams said. “That resulted in no citizens, no officers, no innocent people being harmed, that’s an amazing conclusion to what could’ve happened in that event.”
While the shooting happened back in October, Omans said it’s still difficult to absorb.
“It’s just surreal,” Omans said. “It was just 35 minutes of my life that, it happened, so I have to move on.”
For a full list of officers and civilians recognized during the award ceremony, click here.