Teen Accused Of Killing Police Officer To Face First-Degree Murder Charge, Authorities Say

Photo Courtesy Of Lincoln Police Department

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A teenager who is accused of shooting a Nebraska police officer will face a first-degree murder charge after the officer succumbed to the gunshot wound and died Monday, numerous sources reported.

Felipe Vasquez, 17, is accused of shooting Lincoln police investigator Luis “Mario” Herrera Aug. 26 and was charged with second-degree assault. Assistant Lincoln Police Chief Brian Jackson said authorities expect to file the first-degree murder charge Tuesday afternoon after Herrera died Monday, the AP reported.

Herrera was 50 years old and had served with the Lincoln Police Department for 23 years. He leaves behind a wife and four children, according to Officer Down Memorial Page.

Herrera and other members of the Metro Area Task Force were serving an arrest warrant on Vasquez in the March stabbing death of 36-year-old Edward Varejcka. As officers approached the home, two individuals, including Vasquez, are alleged to have fled the house, which is when the suspect opened fire and struck Herrera in the chest. The officer was transferred to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha where he died. (RELATED: Michigan Officer Dies After Being Attacked By Inmate)

Omaha police helped transport his body back to Lincoln, and the procession drew large crowds who honored Herrera by standing along roadsides and atop highway overpasses in Omaha and Lincoln, according to the AP.

“Lincoln is a city of compassion and kindness, and in the coming days, weeks and months, we will do our best to heal from this grief together,” Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said at Tuesday’s police news conference according to the AP.

Herrera is remembered as one of Lincoln’s “most dedicated and selfless police officers,” who played an important role in solving numerous crimes over the course of his career, according to Jackson. He added that Herrera was also active in his church, coached youth sports, and mentored younger police officers, the AP reported.

“Devastated does not begin to describe the gaping hole left in our hearts, our police department and our community,” Jackson said.