LINCOLN–(KFOR Sept. 27)–The man accused of firing his handgun that wounded a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services employee on Tuesday afternoon and also being involved in a disturbance at a rec center on Sunday apparently had previous run-ins with the law.
Protection and harassment orders had been filed against 38-year-old Brent Lopez of Lincoln in the past year, one of which included him allegedly flashing a gun at a child’s birthday party and his 35-year-old wife accusing him of withholding their kids from school and medical care. The latter case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
But Lincoln Police on Wednesday said those prior incidents were not enough for officers to seize Lopez’ handgun under state law, LB 77, which is the new permitless concealed carry of weapons that took effect earlier this month. LPD public information manager Erika Thomas told reporters there were no violations from Sunday’s incident to warrant seizing the weapon.
Police were called Sunday afternoon to the Air Park Rec Center about a disturbance, where he is accused of punching two teenage girls, who Lopez claims to have made threats toward him and his son. Thomas says it’s believed that after the fight, Lopez went to his car to get the 9mm handgun before officers showed up. After police arrived, Lopez told them he had a handgun. Because of LB 77, which also says people carrying guns must notify law enforcement upon contact they have a concealed weapon, Lopez didn’t have his gun taken away.
Lopez was told by officers to lock up the gun on Sunday.
“The gun was locked up and he was asked to leave the premises and he did. So there were no violations,” according to Thomas. The gun was not shown during Sunday’s disturbance. There isn’t any clarity if Lopez’ previous history with law enforcement would have been enough to have the gun seized, now that LB 77 is state law and had wiped away any gun-restrictions the city of Lincoln had before.
Lopez had been contacted by Lincoln Police around 12:30pm Tuesday, when officers showed up to his home near 7th and “Y” Streets to do a child welfare check, apparently at the request of the mother. Officers checked things out and left. It was shortly before 4pm when two caseworkers from DHHS showed up to the home and shots were fired.
One of the case workers, a 28-year-old man, was wounded in his leg with a single shot. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday. Lopez was arrested for felony assault of a health care worker and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. He’s due in court Thursday afternoon.
After the shooting, LPD confirmed they did recover the handgun.