July 4 fireworks attack update: Sarpy County authorities arrest five suspects
Authorities said the attack appears to be random
PAPILLION, Neb. (WOWT) - The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office announced that several members of the same family were arrested Wednesday morning in connection with the Fourth of July roman candle assault that left several with burns and two men severely injured.
Three adults were arrested as suspects in the attack: Jeremy Brown, 40; Brittany King, 37; and her son, Maddix Keith Foss, 18. Brown and Foss were each booked on one first-degree assault charge; King was booked on charges of second-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. They are due to appear in court Thursday for bond hearings.
Two juveniles, ages 11 and 13, were also taken into detention Wednesday; they are part of the same family as the adult suspects and are expected to face similar charges.
Authorities said at the Wednesday afternoon news conference in the sheriff’s office that other charges — or even more arrests — could arise or be amended as the case investigation continues.
While enjoying a relaxed conversation on their own driveway in the area of 135th Street and Redwood, near Harrison Street, on the Fourth of July, Jeff and Alex O’Brien told 6 News last week that two adults and two teens began firing roman candles at them. A physical altercation followed, leaving a 61-year-old man with internal injuries and a 35-year-old man with serious head injuries.
Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis said during the news conference that others were injured in the attack, saying “several people were burned.”
Investigators said they haven’t yet found a connection between the two groups — living about a mile apart — involved in the incident.
“So if you’re like me, and I think anybody else that saw that video, it made your stomach turn to have something like that happen — broad daylight, your family sitting there in the driveway,” Davis said.
Alex O’Brien broke bones around his eye, and will likely need more surgeries; the older victim spent two days in the ICU and had several broken ribs, Davis said.
Davis said they had received about a dozen tips, most of them leading investigators to a family living in the neighborhood of 147th Street and Berry Circle, near Stony Brook Boulevard, and that investigators staked out the home for two days. The Sarpy County Attorney’s Office then issued search warrants, and the Omaha Police Department assisted in making the arrests on Wednesday morning. SWAT also participated in the arrest as authorities suspected there was a weapon in the residence, Davis said.
He said Brown has “an extensive criminal record, several felonies” and has been convicted on drug and weapons charges.
Authorities recovered a weapon during the arrest. One sandal — matching a sandal found at the scene of the attack — was also recovered from the residence, Davis said.
Jeff O’Brien said he’s grateful for the neighbor’s camera that captured the fireworks assault, and for those who recognized the attackers and contacted police.
“It’s them; it’s just that I’ve never run into them anywhere else before, that’s for sure,” he said after 6 News showed him photos of the suspects. “I really want to know what the purpose was. What would drive them to do something like that. I mean, I still can’t wrap my brain around what would want someone just to attack people, just for no reason at all.”
The O’Briens said they want to see the family of suspects punished and maybe, one day, pay the victims’ medical bills.
“Hopefully, there will be a time when they can pay some restitution or help cover the bills that they created. We didn’t create any of this,” Jeff O’Brien said.
Watch Wednesday’s news conference
Reporter Mike McKnight, Photographer Roger Hamer, and Managing Editor Kevin Westhues contributed to this report.
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