Authorities believe a Santee man who escaped custody and allegedly took a police officer's weapon has left the Niobrara area.
The Knox County Sheriff's Department said the effort was called off at 10 p.m. Tuesday night after an extensive search of the area between Niobrara and Niobrara State Park north of Highway 12.
The manhunt is continuing with the Knox County Sheriff's Department as the lead agency. The Nebraska State Patrol and U.S. Marshalls are assisting.
According to the Knox County Sheriff's Department, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, they received a phone call that a Niobrara officer was assaulted in the low income housing units while attempting to arrest David Hoffman, 25 of Santee, on a Knox County arrest warrant.
Hoffman was able to disarm the Niobrara Officer and pointed the handgun at him before keeping the gun and running out of the village on foot and into the river bottom along the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers. No shots were fired.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area and set up a perimeter. Officers from the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Santee Sioux Nation Tribal Police, also responded. Niobrara Fire and Rescue were put on standby. The Nebraska State Patrol Air Wing, Canine, and SWAT team were used to search and clear the area.
The Niobrara schools as well as several businesses were put in lock down during the search and some vehicles were searched on the edge of Niobrara.
The Sheriff’s Office evacuated employees from the Niobrara State Park. Three employee residences, fifteen cabins, and numerous outbuildings were searched. The search continued until approximately 10 p.m. at which time it was concluded that Hoffman had left the area.
According to Knox County Court records, Hoffman was wanted for felony burglary and theft by receiving stolen property after Niobrara police said he burglarized Terry's Hair Salon in Niobrara on December 19 and made off with $750 in cash and merchandise.
According to investigative reports from several law enforcement agencies, police believe that Hoffman sold some black gold jewelry to a local woman whose mother knew that the merchandise had been stolen from the the Hair Salon.
The incident is under investigation by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol, and U.S. Marshall’s Service. Hoffman is considered armed and dangerous if the public sees him or knows his whereabouts they are asked to call the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.