LPD Chief: Officer Herrera still fighting for life after shooting

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. 31, 2020 at 9:59 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On Monday, Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said he spoke with the family of Officer Mario Herrera on Sunday, learning that he’s undergone five surgeries.

Two of the surgeries on Sunday focused on caring for his abdomen and controlling the ongoing bleeding, according to Chief Bliemeister.

Officer Herrera was shot while serving a warrant on Wednesday near 33rd and Vine streets for 17-year-old Felipe Vazquez in connection to the March homicide of Edward Varejcka. The warrant was for second-degree assault.

Chief Bliemeister said there is reason for optimism and that it’s been expressed by medical professionals, but he said that’s within the boundaries that Officer Herrera is in extremely critical condition, fighting for his life.

More: Community support continues for injured officer

Chief Bliemeister pointed to many reasons as to why Officer Herrera is able to fight today, specifically having medical first responders close by on the day of the shooting, which is routine when serving warrants regarding murder because there’s the potential for harm.

There was an immediate response from first responders after Officer Herrera was shot and Chief Bliemeister thanked the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department, as well as Bryan Health, who contributed to Officer Herrera’s survival care.

“When we talked to the family, they’re extremely overwhelmed by the professionalism and the skills of individuals from in our community in so many agencies. The overwhelming support from the community is incredible, from the support of prayers, financial contributions, so many people have come forward and donated financially, donated blood,” said Chief Bliemeister.

Chief Bliemeister said the LPD officers who were on scene with Officer Herrera are working to process this shooting as well, “We have had officers injured in the course of their duties and they’re watching coworkers fight for their lives in front of them. It’s an incredibly difficult situation. It’s going to take time. As Mario fights, it empowers them too, to know that their contributions lead to Mario being able to see his wife, kids and siblings.”

We’re told resources are being provided to officers for emotional support, from informal discussions with peers and family members to internal resource officers, as well as critical incident debriefing.

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