AP NEWS

Lincoln woman dies in shooting

August 2, 2018

A 36-year-old mother and grandmother who was shot and killed early Tuesday in her north Lincoln home is the second person slain in the city this year.

Jessica M. Brandon died just before 5 a.m., following a shooting in the home a little more than an hour earlier, according to police accounts, public records and a fundraising page.

Intruders entered her home at 1950 Fairfield St. just after 3:30 a.m., and police were called to the scene at 3:45 a.m., Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said.

Seven people, including four children, were inside the home at the time intruders entered, but Bliemeister said but no one else was injured.

Police had no information on the suspects and were still trying to verify descriptions of the intruders and how many of them entered the home, Bliemeister said.

Investigators ask that anyone with information on the shooting call the department at 402-441-6000 or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600.

“We need information regarding who was responsible for this particular crime,” the chief said.

Several neighbors told the Journal Star they heard multiple gunshots in at least two volleys of gunfire, but they didn’t see the intruders.

It’s unclear what, if anything, a surveillance camera on the home’s garage may have captured leading up to and following the shooting.

Brandon’s family performed life-saving efforts until Lincoln Fire and Rescue personnel arrived and took her to Bryan West Campus, where she was pronounced dead.

Brandon’s family couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Neighbors said she and her family moved into the home last year.

They were friendly and mostly kept to themselves, but they allowed neighbor children to use their pool.

“Jessica was taken far (too) early,” an online fundraiser for Brandon’s family said.

Tuesday’s shooting sent a chill down Fairfield Street, said a handful of longtime residents in the Belmont neighborhood.

That street gets busy with traffic passing through to connect to 27th Street or Cornhusker Highway, but aside from the occasional property crime, people generally felt safe.

But four murders in the Belmont neighborhood in 2016 began to change that, and following a shooting on their street, three residents who didn’t feel comfortable being identified in the newspaper said Tuesday they were worried for their safety.

One woman who has lived on Fairfield Street for 10 years said her husband went outside after hearing the gunshots and seeing police cars.

“Just lock the door and get inside,” he told her.

Sheila Ballard, who lives near Brandon’s house, said she struggled in finding what to tell her children about the shooting and whether she can reassure them they’re safe in their home with such scant details about why Brandon was shot.

“Something has changed in the Belmont neighborhood,” Ballard said.

The woman’s killing marks the second homicide in Lincoln this year. Both were shootings.

In March, Edgar Union Jr. was fatally shot following a disturbance between feuding gangs in a neighborhood west of Union College.

The alleged shooter, 16-year-old Natavian Morton, is at the Lancaster County juvenile detention center pending trial on second-degree murder and several weapons charges.

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