Two neighbors and friends of Madonna Runco know she is suffering this Mother’s Day, three days after Runco’s daughter was shot in the chest by a police officer.
“My heart goes out to you,” Connie Gibb, Runco’s next-door neighbor, said through The World-Herald. “It’s just such a tragic incident.”
The daughter, Paula Moen, 52, was in critical but stable condition Saturday at Creighton University Medical Center, the Omaha Police Department said.
Gibb and another neighbor, Pauline Olson, said Runco comforted them when their husbands died. They will support her similarly through this harsh period.
“We call her Donna,” Olson said. “I’ve known her for years, and just a fantastic lady. ... Donna is private, but she’s a very warm person.”
Runco called police Thursday night to her home in the Sunny Slope subdivision of northwest Omaha because her daughter was playing music extremely loudly in the basement, where she lives.
When officers arrived, police say, Moen threatened them with a knife, then pulled out a flare gun. A police officer shot Moen in the chest.
Police said Runco described Moen as mentally ill. The neighbors said they didn’t know exactly what her mental condition was. Runco had given Olson a key to the home to check on the dog, feed him and let him out when Runco was out of town.
Olson said Moen has a condition in which she sleeps a great deal. “At times we could converse, and it was fine,” Olson said of Moen. “Other times, it wasn’t a clear conversation.”
Olson, who has known the Runco family for decades, said the daughter is intelligent and had wanted to be a physician, like her stepfather. Dr. Vincent Runco, who died in 2000, spent more than 30 years as a Creighton University heart specialist, caring for patients, and teaching students.
The Runco home — dark red brick with blossoming trees in front — was quiet Saturday. The manicured yard contains a little garden in front, with statues of a small lion and a girl reading a book. Beside the front door is a rendering of a cat with a crown on its head. The back portion of the house includes a large enclosed deck.
Olson said she hasn’t called on Runco since the incident. “When my husband died, she was always bringing something over,” Olson said.
She said she doesn’t want to intrude on Runco, but she may visit her today with tulips.
Gibb, who has known Runco since moving into Sunny Slope nine years ago, said Gibb’s husband, John Farrow, died in January 2012 after suffering a pulmonary embolism, or blockage in an artery in a lung, while they were on a cruise. Runco brought her food, kept her company and began playing golf regularly with her at Elmwood Golf Course.
“I think she is probably one of the most caring people in my circle of friends,” Gibb said. “She was certainly here for me during that horrible time — and continues to be here for me.”
Gibb said she has spoken by phone with Runco since her daughter was shot. Runco regrets having called the police, she said.
“It’s extremely painful for her,” Gibb said.
Maybe something good can come from this, Gibb said, and her friend’s daughter will get the help she needs.
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