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Community responds to injured officer

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 5:02 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -More details into what led up to the shooting of Investigator Mario Herrera were released on Friday. According to arresting documents, authorities were inside a home near 33rd and Vine Street, talking with Felipe Vazquez. Vazquez was wanted in connection to a murder.

The document said he was behind a locked door and negotiations lasted about 25 minutes. That’s when Vazquez and another man, Orion Ross, broke out a back window. Moments later, investigators believe Vazquez fired three shots, hitting Herrera in the chest.

Also in those documents, Ross, who was arrested just minutes after, accused of saying

“If I had a gun, I wouldn’t have stopped.”

The gun used was reported stolen on July 12, and the person who reported that theft is related to Ross’s mother.

Vazquez and Ross are both still in the Lancaster County Jail. They’ve been charged with felony escape. The Lancaster County Attorney will determine additional charges based on the investigation.

There has been an incredible outpouring of support for Investigator Herrera and his family since the shooting. Just a day ago, the Lincoln Independent Business Association, or LIBA, asked the Police Union what they could do to help. The Union suggested they buy gift cards for Herrera’s family while they travel between UNMC and home.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said President and CEO of LIBA, Bud Synhorst.

Synhorst said LIBA has collected over $1,000 in gift cards, and a few hundred dollars in cash.

“Every little bit helps, whatever they need,” said Synhorst. “Just to try and help them out with whatever they need, these things aren’t just about today, tomorrow and the next day.”

Across town, blood donors are coming in droves. The Nebraska Community Blood Bank saw 200 donors on Thursday.

Investigator Herrera went through more than 130 units of blood, a typical number of what NCBB would collect at a blood drive.

“That would be a really good day of collection for us to have a hundred or so units of blood in a day,” said Kari Lundeen, with the NCBB. “That can deplete a supply very very fast, so we do need people to come right in.

Lundeen said people are scheduling appointments for the next couple of weeks in honor of Investigator Herrera.

“It was the blood that was already on the shelf, the donors that had come in the weeks before that saved Herrera’s life,” said Lundeen. “Now we need more donors to get that back to stable.”

For donor Margaret Woeppel, helping out is personal. Woeppel worked with Investigator Herrera years ago in the Emergency Department.

“Mario (is) very patient, kind considerate person and officer who had a tremendous smile,” said Woeppel. “I’m honored to, and want to do anything I can for Mario.”

To get involved, LIBA is accepting gift cards and cash donations at their office. NCBB recommends calling ahead to set up an appointment, as many people have been wanting to donate blood in honor of Investigator Herrera. There is also a fund set up for the Herrera family at Liberty First Credit Union. You can make a donation at all four locations.

A Gofundme has been set up for Investigator Herrera. Click here for more details.

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