Police identify officer shot serving a warrant on Wednesday

Mario Herrera was shot serving a warrant in Lincoln on August 26.
Mario Herrera was shot serving a warrant in Lincoln on August 26.(Lincoln Police)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:36 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Police Officer that was shot while serving a warrant on Wednesday near 33rd and Vine streets has been identified.

Luis “Mario” Herrera, a 23-year veteran of the force, is currently in critical condition at Bryan West Hospital, according to Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

Herrera was shot in the torso and has undergone multiple surgeries, Bliemeister said. He was not wearing a ballistic vest.

Herrera’s family said he has received numerous blood transfusions, and those that want to help can donate blood at the Nebraska Blood Bank.

According to LPD, officers were at a home in the area serving an arrest warrant for 17-year-old Felipe Vazquez in connection to the March homicide of Edward Varejcka. The warrant was for second-degree assault.

Officers said that during the process of serving the warrant, Herrera was shot after two suspects broke through the front window of the home.

Authorities said that Vazquez fired a semi-automatic pistol while trying to escape, striking Herrera.

Another LPD officer did return fire but did not strike Vazquez or Ross, police said. That officer is under administrative leave as the situation is investigated.

Arrested in connection to shooting of Officer Luis Herrera.
Arrested in connection to shooting of Officer Luis Herrera. (Lincoln Police)

Sherrif Terry Wagner with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, who is investigating the situation, said that Ross and Vazquez fled the scene after Vazquez fired the weapon.

Ross was found hiding on the playground of Hartley Elementary school at 33rd and Vine. He was taken into custody.

Vazquez was found and arrested after he tried to hide inside the home of a nearby residence.

The firearm used has been recovered, Wagner said.

On Thursday afternoon, both Ross and Vazquez appeared in court via a video monitor.

Ross appeared first and was charged with escape using force or a deadly weapon. His bond was set at $1 million.

He will appear next on Sept. 24 at 10 a.m.

Vazquez appeared shortly after from the Youth Detention Center and was charged with second-degree assault in connection to the incident in March, as well as escape using force.

His bond was set at $500,000. The judge said that Vazquez has a “very long” juvenile criminal record.

He will also appear next on Sept. 24.

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