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17-year-old charged with murder in LPD officer's fatal shooting pleads not guilty

17-year-old charged with murder in LPD officer's fatal shooting pleads not guilty

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The 17-year-old facing a first-degree murder charge in the killing of a longtime Lincoln Police Investigator Mario Herrera has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Felipe Vazquez had been set for arraignment Wednesday morning, but he instead waived his appearance, filing it in written form. 

He hasn't yet been set for trial on the charge and six other felonies, including escape using force or a deadly weapon and a string of gun charges that includes possession of a stolen firearm.

Felipe Vazquez

Felipe Vazquez

On Aug. 26, law enforcement went to Vazquez's family's home at 33rd and Vine streets looking for him on a second-degree assault charge in connection with Edward Varejcka's stabbing death in March.

As members of the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force, the department's gang unit and criminal division gathered outside, Vazquez and Orion Ross, 19, broke out a window in an escape attempt, with Vazquez firing shots at Herrera and other officers, according to court documents.

Herrera — in plain clothes, not wearing a bulletproof vest and there, in part, to serve as a translator — was struck in the torso. He underwent numerous surgeries but died of his injuries on Sept. 7.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger

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