Police Officer Dies After Being Shot While Attempting To Arrest Assault Suspect


A Lincoln, Nebraska, police officer died Monday two weeks after he was shot and critically injured while attempting to arrest an assault suspect.

Inspector Luis “Mario” Herrera was shot Aug. 26 while the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force served a warrant for 17-year-old Felipe Vazquez, who was wanted for second-degree assault in connection with a stabbing death in March, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Lancaster Country Sheriff Terry Wagner, whose department is leading the investigation into the shooting, said evidence showed that Vazquez shot Herrera as he and Orion Ross broke out of a window and escaped.

Herrera was hit in the torso and was not wearing a ballistic vest. He was transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries Monday morning.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I have to pass on devastating news to all of you. At approximately 3:30 this morning, Mario died,” Herrera’s sister-in-law, Melissa Wood, wrote in a post on CaringBridge.

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“Carrie and his 4 amazing children were able to be with him. I am at a loss for words as we try to process this.”

Herrera was a 23-year veteran of the Lincoln Police Department.

“The Lincoln Police Department is devastated by the loss of one of our most outstanding police officers,” the department wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

“Mario was an exceptional investigator, a selfless teammate, and a tireless public servant. Empathetic, kind, and utterly committed to serving victims and protecting his community.”

Police officers will drape their badges to honor Herrera’s sacrifice and memory.

“Sadness does not begin to describe fully our community’s sense of loss with the passing of Inv. Mario Herrera,” Mayor Leirion Gaylor-Baird said in a Twitter statement.

“Our hearts are with his wife, Carrie, and their four children. We remain forever grateful for their family’s profound sacrifice in service to keeping our community safe.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset Friday in honor of Herrera’s “service and sacrifice,” The Associated Press reported.

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“Now more than ever, it is critical for all of us to come together and support the men and women who put on the uniform and risk their lives every day to help keep our communities safe,” Ricketts said in a statement.

Vazquez and Ross were charged on Aug. 27 with escape stemming from the incident, and a judge set their bonds at $1 million each, according to the AP.

Vazquez was also charged with possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree assault on an officer.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith