Saturday’s shooting an ‘isolated incident’

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Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:00 am

A shooting outside Gretna city limits has left a father dead and his son in custody.

Authorities were called to a house at 11534 234th St. at about 7:45 p.m. on Saturday after a report was made of a shooting. William Braesch Jr., 66, had been shot and killed.

Law enforcement has the suspect in custody, the victim’s son, Steven Braesch, 40, who also lives in the home.

Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis said there was no risk created to the public safety.

“There is no one on the loose,” Davis said. “This is an isolated incident.”

Davis said the crime is still under investigation. He and other officials would not make comment as to the details of what law enforcement believes happened that night.

“What we think happened is irrelevant until we know what happened,” Davis said.

At Steven Braesch’s Tuesday morning arrangement, the court decided to hold him without bail at the Sarpy County Jail. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 12 at 1:30 p.m.

Sarpy County Deputy Attorney Tricia Freeman said Braesch has been charged with first-degree murder and the use of a firearm to commit a felony, both felonies.

Freeman said she would not comment on what the prosecutors believes happened as she waits for more information from the investigation.

“I would hope over the next couple of days we’ll have reports flowing in,” she said.

The county’s criminal complaint file against Braesch charges him with first-degree murder, although he was originally booked for second-degree murder. The document alleges he “did purposely and with deliberate and premeditated malice” kill his father.

“We feel there is sufficient evidence of premeditation,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov told the Gretna Breeze.

A conviction for first-degree murder could result in prosecutors seeking the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Polikov said other charges can be filed, which could include child abuse.

“Three nieces were present during this incident,” he said.

Polikov said Tuesday he had not yet received reports as to whether the children —one 7 year old and 5-year-old twins — witnessed the crime.

Polikov said it is likely the county will file the child abuse charges following Braesch’s preliminary hearing.

While happening outside of Gretna’s jurisdiction, the victim and his family were well-known around town.

“He’ll by deeply missed by everybody,” said Rich Braesch, the victim’s brother.

He said his brother, who went by Bill, was a man who always wore a smile and waved at anyone who passed.

“I can’t think of anybody he didn’t like,” he said.

Rich said his brother loved his wife, Virginia, and three sons, and often had his grandchildren at his house.

He was a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church and a daily guest at Gretna Gas & Lube, where he often met with friends early in the day over a cup of coffee.

Rich Braesch said his brother’s passion was farming, especially taking care of his livestock.

“He was never an indoor guy,” he said.

He said his brother treated animals like humans, and they never lacked for anything, his dog Lola especially.

“She went with him everywhere,” he said.

Rich Braesch said the reality of losing Bill Braesch has not fully sunken in, but already the family has received overwhelming support from the Gretna community.

“We are lucky enough to have a lot of friends who give us a lot of support,” he said.

Still, he said, his brother will be greatly missed.

“It won’t be the same driving by his place and not seeing him out there with his livestock,” he said.

Bill Braesch will be honored during Gretna Days by his son, William Braesch III, who goes by Billy, who will drive his tractor during the tractor pull.

Rich Braesch said Bill Braesch had worked on his tractor, and was excited to enter the pull. The community, too, has felt the loss.

“I’ve known the Braesch family for years and years,” Mayor Jim Timmerman said. “They’re a good family, good hard workers.”

He said Virginia Braesch is also well known as the previous owner the Clippity Clop Barber Shop.

During this time of loss and mourning, Timmerman asked the community to support the Braesch family.

He said he is thankful for the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement for their prompt and professional response.

The last shooting to take place in Gretna was in 2004, when Jason Golka shot and killed two men. He now is serving a life sentence.

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