Payton Benson 5 years old/ Omaha World Herald

Omaha, Nebraska 5 year-old Payton Benson hit by a stray bullet while eating a bowl of cereal.

Omaha, Nebraska 5 year-old Payton Benson hit by a stray bullet while eating a bowl of cereal.

A 5-year-old Omaha girl was gunned down as she ate breakfast inside her home Wednesday – felled by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting.
Cops responded to reports of a hail of gunfire near 45th and Emmett Sts. around 9:45 a.m. to find little Payton Benson critically wounded, police said in a statement.
The girl later died at a hospital.

She was an innocent little girl, sitting at home eating breakfast, when she was killed by a stray bullet from a north Omaha gunbattle.

The randomness of that act Wednesday stunned and outraged community leaders.

“In our city, every life matters and every violent death is unacceptable,” Mayor Jean Stothert said. “When a child becomes a victim of such an unthinkable act we must all stand together to support the family and then we must be part of the solution.”

Five-year-old Payton Benson was hit by a bullet fired one block from her home near 45th and Emmet Streets, said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer.

Payton was eating breakfast with her mother and little brother about 9:45 a.m. when a bullet ripped through the walls of the house at 3328 N. 45th St., Schmaderer said.

Payton was Omaha’s first homicide victim of the new year.

“Bullets know no boundaries, they know no target, they are going to land where they land,” Schmaderer said during a press conference Wednesday evening.

“Enough of the gang violence, and enough with the random shootings.”

Schmaderer and Stothert promised to find the person who killed an innocent girl. Both leaders expressed their sympathy for Payton’s family members.

“I promise this family and I promise this community that my homicide investigators, my gang investigators, will work around the clock, leaving no stone unturned to solve this homicide,” Schmaderer said.

Shell casings indicated that gunfire broke out at the intersection of 44th Avenue and Emmet Street, a block from Payton’s house. Multiple people exchanged gunfire, Schmaderer said.

Police were looking for three black men who fled in a black Jeep Commander. Initial 911 reports described one as having a handgun, one armed with a high-powered rifle and the third wearing a bandanna.

The mother, Tabatha Manning, ran out screaming, a relative said.

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