Lincoln, NE residents outside of Justice and Law Enforcement Center in support of the officer that was shot. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Police Department.
An officer with the Lincoln, Nebraska, Police Department was shot and critically wounded while conducting a warrant arrest Wednesday, according to a press release from the department.
Law enforcement officers from the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force, the Lincoln Police Department Gang Unit, and LPD were serving an arrest warrant for a wanted homicide suspect, 17-year-old Felipe Vazquez. Vazquez had an outstanding arrest warrant since Aug. 21 due to his involvement in the March 2020 slaying of Edward Varejcka. The warrant is for second-degree assault in relation to the murder.
LPD enacted safety precautions with the local public school system before executing the warrant after they “obtained information” on Vazquez’s location. As the task attempted to call out Vazquez on the 3200 block of Vine Street at approximately 11:34 a.m. local time, one of the suspects inside opened fire on the officers from within the residence, critically wounding an LPD officer. The other officers returned fire but did not hit any of the unknown number of suspects within the residence.
The wounded officer has not been identified but was recognized as a 23-year veteran of law enforcement. He was taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery and is in critical condition.
Vazquez and an additional suspect from the residence, 19-year-old Orion J. Ross, fled the scene after the shooting took place. LPD apprehended both and arrested them shortly after.
According to an LPD Facebook post, “On March 8th, 2020, shortly after 3:30 a.m., the Lincoln Police Department and Lincoln Fire and Rescue were sent to a residence in the 2200 block of Orchard Street on a report of a stabbing. Edward Varejcka, 36 years old, was stabbed several times and died.”
The post indicated that at least three individuals had entered Varejcka’s residence, a physical fight ensued, and one of the suspects stabbed Varejcka multiple times, killing him.
Vazquez is one of the four suspects identified in connection to the murder of Varejcka. On March 18, LPD arrested Krysean Reynolds and Makayla Fell for accessory to a felony for their involvement. Later that month, LPD arrested Victor Melendez III for aiding and abetting murder.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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