William H. Braesch's three young granddaughters -- one age 7 and 5-year-old twins -- were in his house Saturday night when the 66-year-old farmer was fatally shot, prosecutors said.
Braesch's friends and acquaintances were still reeling from the loss of the longtime community member Monday as his son, the young girls' uncle, was charged with first-degree murder.
“People are pretty numb,” said Sarpy County Board member Jim Warren, a former Gretna mayor. “It's just one of those things that you don't see coming, you don't expect.”
Braesch, who went by Bill, was shot at his home near Gretna on South 234th Street near West Angus Road, according to the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's deputies soon arrested his son, Steven R. Braesch, 40, who also lives in the home.
He was originally booked on a charge of second-degree murder, but prosecutors upgraded the charge Monday to first-degree.
“We believe there's evidence of premeditation,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said.
Steven Braesch also was charged with use of a weapon to commit a felony.
A judge on Tuesday denied bail for the younger Braesch, who is being held in the Sarpy County jail.
Polikov said there were no warning signs of violence.
“I think the community's going to have a lot of sadness,” Polikov said.
Steven Braesch's criminal record had included only two incidents, both with misdemeanor charges. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning.
The shooting is the first homicide in Gretna since 2004, when then-17-year-old Jason Golka shot and killed two men.
Golka was sentenced to life in prison. He is among the prisoners asking for a reduced sentence because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says minors can't be sentenced to life.
Last year, authorities found the body of a Phoenix man who had been bound, set on fire and left near Gretna. But law enforcement officials say they believe the man was killed elsewhere and dumped in Sarpy County.
Warren said Bill Braesch had lived in Gretna since childhood and had graduated from high school there.
His wife, Virginia, is also widely known. She previously cut hair at the Clippity Clop Barber Shop and eventually sold the business, Warren said.
“I didn't have a lot of contact with him but always got a smile and a wave every time I met him on the road,” Warren said.