On April 14, 2020 Hastings Police Department notified the Clay County Sheriff’s Office that they were investigating a crime of violence and the suspect was believed to be in the area in Clay County near County Road F and County Road 303. Two CCSO deputies went to investigate and try to locate the suspect. At 1640 hours, April 14, 2020 a deputy radioed that shots had been fired. The Sheriff responded to the area, called in all off-duty deputies, while Sutton and Harvard Police Departments responded to the call.
Adams, Hamilton, Filmore, and Nuckolls County sent deputies to assist. The Sheriff requested support from the Nebraska State Patrol who sent multiple Troopers and their Troop C Commander, Capt. Lewis. Responding deputies and troopers established a perimeter around the area and a citizen reported seeing something unusual in the shelter belt around their home in that immediate area.
Emergency Management issued a shelter in place order for residents who live in that area of the county. NSP activated the regional SWAT team to conduct the search since the suspect had already fired at deputies. NSP air units were moved to this scene and worked to locate the suspect. Air, foot, K-9, and law enforcement searches found the suspect was not at that farmstead.
Emergency Management worked with the Down South Bar and Grill in Deweese to obtain 50 meals for the officers working this event. That and water were distributed to the officers on scene. The Clay County Highway Superintendent, Tom Roemmich, came to the scene as two bridges were still washed out over the Little Blue River in this area and delivering food to the perimeter units required knowledge of the rough terrain and alternate routes of travel in the Spring Rach Area. Mr. Roemmich also used his knowledge of the area to provide layouts of the surrounding properties and their owners to the NSP Command Team.
Law Enforcement searched the area for several hours and into the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 15, 2020 but found no leads to locate the suspect or his weapon. The Clay County Sheriff and deputies continue to search the area for the suspect. Emergency Management is supporting them with logistics and community updates.
Residents who are at home in this area of the county have been asked to keep their doors locked and notify the Sheriff’s Office if they notice anything suspicious.
The suspect is identified as Wesley Blessing, age 44, and he is 5′ 11″ tall, with brown hair, brown eyes, weighs about 225 lbs and was wearing brown coveralls and had an orange hoodie. If anyone sees this individual, do not approach him, call 911 immediately.