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Lincoln man pepper sprayed neighbors before shooting and killing teen, police allege

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Lincoln man pepper sprayed neighbors before shooting and killing teen, police allege

The 29-year-old Lincoln man accused of shooting and killing his 18-year-old neighbor Saturday morning first tried to pepper spray a group of neighbors before firing at Julian Martinez from inside of his apartment, police alleged in new court filings.

Armon Rejai had been walking his dog near 19th Street and Euclid Avenue when he confronted neighbors over an unleashed dog shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday, Lincoln Police Investigator Jason Adams said in the affidavit for Rejai's arrest, filed in Lancaster County Court on Tuesday.

After confronting his neighbors and kicking off an altercation, Rejai retreated into his apartment at 1823 Euclid Ave., Adams alleged in the affidavit, before emerging and spraying pepper spray toward his neighbors.

Rejai then reentered his apartment as Martinez approached his door and began knocking, Adams said. The 29-year-old told police that Martinez was yelling and wanted to fight him, investigators alleged in the affidavit.

As the knocking continued, police believe, Rejai retrieved a handgun from his apartment, opened the door and shot Martinez before shutting and locking his apartment door, Adams alleged.

Rejai was among area residents who called police, telling dispatchers he had just "shot someone," Assistant Poilce Chief Brian Jackson said at a news conference Monday morning.

Police found Martinez near Mejai's building and performed CPR before Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews took him to Bryan West Campus — a few blocks southwest of the shooting scene.The 18-year-old was pronounced dead at the hospital.Officers arrested Mejai at the scene without further incident, Jackson said at Monday's news conference. Investigators recovered a handgun owned by Rejai at the scene, Jackson said, adding that they did not recover any other weapons, indicating Martinez wasn't armed.Prosecutors charged Rejai on Tuesday with second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. If convicted of both felony charges, he would face 25 years to life in prison.Rejai was held at the Lancaster County jail without bond overnight Monday. He is set to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.At Monday's news conference, Jackson said he didn't believe police had been called to the area before regarding any prior disputes between Rejai and Martinez. He declined to describe any previous run-ins either man might have had with law enforcement.In April 2022, officers with Lincoln's Animal Control Department cited Rejai for his dog injuring property of another person, according to prior court filings.Martinez's death marks the first suspected killing of 2023 in Lincoln, where there were 11 alleged killings last year.Family members of the 18-year-old launched a fundraiser over the weekend to help pay for Martinez's funeral costs. In the fundraiser's description, Martinez's brother-in-law described his death as "a very sudden and tragic loss for all of us."

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