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80-year-old Lincoln man arrested after shooting 78-year-old wife in head, police say
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80-year-old Lincoln man arrested after shooting 78-year-old wife in head, police say

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An 80-year-old Lincoln man has been arrested after police say he shot his wife in the head on Sunday morning, leaving the 78-year-old in critical condition at an area hospital.

Lincoln Police Department Officer Erin Spilker said the man, John Kotopka, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony after the shooting at around 8 a.m. Sunday.

John Kotopka


The arrest came after officers responded to a call from a man who said he was awakened by a gunshot in his family's house near 18th and Dakota streets, where he found his mother, Janet Kotopka, in their living room with a gunshot wound, Spilker said.

The man lived at the house with his parents. 

Janet Kotopka was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she remained in critical condition Monday evening. Spilker said interviews led to John Kotopka's arrest. 

Spilker said the gun used in the shooting was recovered from the home, which was processed for evidence by crime scene technicians. John Kotopka was taken to the Lancaster County Jail.

In a statement shared with the Journal Star on Monday, family members said they were going through a difficult time and requested privacy.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or

On Twitter @andrewwegley. 


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Breaking news reporter

A Kansas City, Missouri, native, Andrew Wegley joined the Journal Star as breaking news reporter after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University in May 2021.

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