A man accused of killing two Sonic Drive-In employees and injuring two others was lying facedown in the Bellevue restaurant’s parking lot before police arrested him, police body-camera footage shows.
Two of the employees, Nathan Pastrana, 22, and Ryan Helbert, 28, were declared dead at the scene Saturday night. Two others, Zoey Reece Atalig Lujan, 18, and Kenneth Gerner, 25, were taken in critical condition to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. A hospital spokesman said Sunday night that he could not release their conditions.
Bellevue police were called to the fast-food restaurant at 1307 Cornhusker Road at 9:23 p.m. Saturday. Someone saw wires and pipes sticking out of the back of a U-Haul truck, which was on fire, Bellevue Police Lt. Andy Jashinske, a police spokesman, said Sunday. About a minute later, Jashinske said, the incident was reported as a shooting.
Arriving officers spotted three of the injured Sonic workers inside the restaurant building, pulled them out and began lifesaving measures, Jashinske said. The other wounded worker was found later, he said. (A fifth worker had minor injuries but refused treatment.)
Minutes later, 23-year-old Roberto Carlos Silva of Omaha, who was lying on the ground with his arms outstretched, was put in handcuffs. Silva was booked into the Sarpy County Jail at 4:31 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree arson.
Jashinske said officers think that Silva drove the U-Haul to the restaurant but still were investigating.
Bellevue police officers initially encountered Silva on Wednesday after Sonic employees called police to report that a man from out of state had reported that someone had been fraudulently using his Sonic app that night to purchase food at the Bellevue Sonic, including hamburgers and corn dogs.
When officers arrived at the Sonic, they saw a Toyota Corolla leaving the area, and the license plate matched the description Sonic workers had given to dispatchers.
The officers stopped Silva’s car and interviewed him about the matter. They then arrested Silva and took him to the Sarpy County Jail. Silva was released from jail Thursday after posting 10% of $1,500 bail.
Officers found three firearms in Silva’s car during the Wednesday traffic stop. The guns were taken as evidence and Bellevue police still had them Sunday. Jashinske said Silva has a Nebraska concealed-carry permit.
Police found four other firearms Saturday near the Sonic, Jashinske said. Silva didn’t have any weapons on him when police handcuffed him, he said.
Jashinske said it was too early in the investigation to say whether Silva had interacted Wednesday with any of the people he shot.
Bellevue police had not had any contact with Silva before Wednesday, Jashinske said.
Community members gathered Sunday evening to mark the tragedy. Flowers, candles and a makeshift sign were displayed in a parking lot near the Sonic.
Madison Purdy, 18, said she has eaten at the Sonic many times and passed by the restaurant shortly before the shooting.
“This is just really sad,” she said. “I just graduated from Bellevue West (High School), and I knew people who worked here.”
Amanda Keene and her husband, Adam Arvesen, stopped at the vigil Sunday night to pay their respects. The Bellevue couple frequently stopped at the Sonic and knew some of the workers who were shot.
Lujan, one of the wounded workers, served them most nights, they said.
“They’re always sweet,” Amanda Keene said of the workers at Sonic.
Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike said the community would continue to pull together.
“Bellevue is still a pretty small community, everybody knows each other, everybody in town probably has a connection to someone who was a victim here,” he said. “There’s a lot of prayer and hoping for the best.”
At least two fundraisers have begun. The Bellevue First Facebook page provides information on a plan to split donations equally among families of the four victims. Donations to Bellevue First can be made at either Bellevue branch of Great Western Bank, according to the site.
Even though Bellevue remains safe, Hike said, this kind of shooting has robbed the community of some of its sense of security.
“A lot of people have been affected,” he said.
A person inside the southwest Omaha home where Silva lived with his parents declined to open the door when a reporter knocked. A man who arrived at the home as the reporter was leaving acknowledged that it was the Silva family’s home, but he declined to comment.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Bellevue Police Department at 402-293-3100 or Sarpy County Crime Stoppers at 402-592-STOP.
World-Herald staff writer Nancy Gaarder contributed to this report.