Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Nebraska Sonic shooting

Jan 24, 2022, 2:56 PM | Updated: 4:02 pm

PAPILLION, Neb. (AP) — A man accused of killing two people and wounding two others at a Nebraska fast-food restaurant will face the death penalty if he is convicted, a county attorney said Monday.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said he will pursue the death penalty against 24-year-old Roberto Silva Jr., who is facing several felonies in the Nov. 21, 2020, shooting at a Sonic restaurant in Bellevue.

Prosecutors allege Silva threw an incendiary device, ignited materials in a rental truck he drove to the restaurant and then opened fire.

Employees Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, were killed and Zoey Lujan, 18, and Kenneth Gerner, 25, were injured.

Silva was arrested at the scene.

Polikov said in a news release that it was the first time he had sought the death penalty in his nearly 30 years as an elected official.

In what he called a procedural move, Polikov dismissed and then refiled the nine felonies that Silva Jr. had faced and added additional attempted first-degree murder charges involving three employees who were able to flee.

Polikov said the investigation found aggravating circumstances necessary to seek the death penalty.

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Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Nebraska Sonic shooting