The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in Nebraska. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Roberto Carlos Silva Jr. PENDING
Date: November 21, 2020
People Killed: 2
Circumstances: On November 21, 2020, concealed handgun permit holder Roberto Carlos Silva Jr., 23, allegedly shot and killed Ryan Helbert, 28, and Nathan Pastrana, 22, and wounded two others at a SONIC drive-in restaurant in Bellevue, Nebraska. Silva drove a U-Haul truck to the restaurant which he allegedly set on fire at the scene of the shooting. Three days prior to the shooting, Silva was arrested at the same restaurant for allegedly using someone else’s SONIC app to buy $57 worth of food. At the time of the arrest, officers seized three guns from Silva. Police said Silva was unarmed when he was arrested but that four guns were found at the restaurant. Silva was charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, as well as arson and four gun charges.
Source: “Bond denied in fatal attack at Nebraska fast food restaurant,” outlookindia.com, November 24, 2020.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jonathan Echtinaw PENDING
Date: May 6, 2019
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 6, 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Jonathan Echtinaw, 25, allegedly shot and killed Ethan Edgar, 18, during a dispute over an allegedly stolen car. After a car that had been reported stolen was spotted in Council Bluffs, a group of friends including Echtinaw found the car and followed the driver in four or five cars. According to the Pottawattamie County attorney, one vehicle pulled in front of the car at a gas station to block it, while another pulled up behind it. The driver of the allegedly stolen car crashed into one of the other vehicles and shots were fired. Police allege that while his 23-year-old fiancée was at the wheel of the car, Echtinaw fired two shots that hit Edgar, who crashed a few blocks away and later died at the hospital. Prosecutors said they are not sure that Edgar was involved in the theft of the vehicle, noting that there was a different description of the person that stole the vehicle. Echtinaw and his fiancée were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Source: “Two indicted in Iowa shooting death,” ketv.com, September 29, 2019.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Catessa Barnum CONVICTED
Date: September 23, 2017
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On September 23, 2017, concealed handgun permit holder Catessa Barnum, 27, shot and killed Shadaisja Hill, 15, at a jitney stand, an underground cab service, in Omaha, Nebraska. Barnum and Shadaisja Hill’s mother, Porcha Hill, both had children with the same father and the two women had been feuding for weeks. Porcha Hill along with a group of women “squared off” with Barnum at a convenience store where words were exchanged the afternoon prior to the shooting. At approximately 2:15 AM the next morning, Porcha and a group of women, two of whom were carrying aluminum baseball bats, emerged from an SUV and confronted Barnum. Barnum fired what she characterized as a warning shot to disperse the group, but the bullet stuck and killed Shadaisja Hill, who was still inside the SUV. Barnum’s attorney argued that her client fired the shot in self-defense after being ambushed by the group of women. In February 2019, Barnum pleaded no contest to manslaughter. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a weapon use charge that could have added up to 50 years to her sentence. On April 23, 2019, Catessa Barnum was sentenced to five years of probation.
Source: “Judge gives probation to Omaha woman who killed a 15-year-old after firing warning shot at romantic rival,” omaha.com, April 23, 2019; “Omaha woman pleads to manslaughter in ‘stupid,’ ‘avoidable’ shooting,” omaha.com, February 28, 2019.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Carl Heng CONVICTED
Date: August 24, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 24, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Carl Heng, 25, allegedly shot and killed Robert Lane, 25, following an incident involving Lane’s girlfriend. Lane’s girlfriend worked with Heng, and according to prosecutors, she called him to her apartment because of an argument she was having with Lane. Words were exchanged between Heng and Lane and when Lane went to open the girlfriend’s apartment door, Heng allegedly shot Lane twice. Lane later died at a hospital. Heng claims he acted in self defense. Heng was arrested and charged with second degree murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony.
UPDATE: On August 2, 2016, Carl Heng was found guilty of manslaughter and use of a firearm to commit a felony in the death of Robert Lane. On September 28, 2016, Heng was sentenced to seven to 12 years for manslaughter and seven to 10 years for use of the firearm. The sentences are to be served consecutively and under state sentencing guidelines Heng must be released after 13 and a half years.
Source: “Omaha man must serve at least 9 ½ years for fatal shooting,” Omaha World-Herald, September 28, 2016; “Jury rejects claims of self-defense, finds Omaha man guilty of manslaughter in 2015 shooting death,” Omaha World-Herald, August 3, 2016; “SW Omaha shooting suspect denied bond, claims self defense,” scrippsmedia.com, August 27, 2015.