Bellevue Sonic shooting memorial unveiled

An open fireplace complete with a plaque with the names of those who died or were seriously injured while at work that night.
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT
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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - A special place was dedicated at the Bellevue Sonic near 15th and Cornhusker this morning.

Pictures, candles, and other mementos surround a tree, right across the street from the Bellevue Sonic Drive-in. Back in November, two people died, two others were seriously injured when a gunman opened fire.

This morning the owner of Sonic unveiled a more permanent memorial for the victims. An open fireplace complete with a plaque with the names of those who died or were seriously injured while at work that night.

“Almost as closure to this horrible tragedy, I don’t think it will ever be closed but it was important for us to see. To be able to have the family members here, even had Nathan’s family drove up from Texas to be here,” said Bryant Morrison, Sonic Owner.

Nathan Pastrana is one of those names, he died from his gunshot wounds. His mother is still dealing with the pain of losing her son to violence.

“To be honest I’m still in denial, I still keep finding myself in the first day that I got that call. You know it keeps reminding me over and over, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that,” said Angela Pastrana, Nathan’s mother.

She drove to Bellevue from Texas back in November, she made that trip again to see the memorial.

“It gives you an area to sit down and just kind of think and kind of remember them. The kind of people that they were, what they brought to the community, and as much as they brought joy to the employers here too,” said Pastrana.

“I’d like to thank you, thank y’all for helping me,” said Zoey Lujan.

Zoey is still recovering from her injuries, her mother doesn’t have time to think about the night her child was hurt.

“I have not thought about that night only because we’ve just been thinking of recovery and strength and trucking along,” said Faye Atalig, Zoey’s mother.

The Salvation Army’s Capt. John Ganter was on the scene back in November and witness what the shooter left behind. Today he led the memorial service, helping the community to heal.

“We don’t need to be overcome by evil but we can overcome evil through good, amen. When I see this memorial, I will think of those who were lost and I will think of those whose lives were changed forever that evening but I will also think of strong people, strong families, and strong community,” said Ganter.

Kenneth Gerner was shot several times that night, he is still recovering but he has returned to his job.

“I think it was important for me to come back just to get over it all you know and honestly I think it’s helped, it’s been good. I don’t know mental therapy you know what I mean, just to realize it’s just a building again you know,” said Gerner.

Ryan Helbert and Nathan Pastrana lost their lives in the shooting.

Robert Silvia Jr. faces a number of charges in connection with the shooting including two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Silva is behind bars awaiting trial.

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