A series of gunshots roused neighbors early Sunday as Lincoln's nearly year-long stretch without a homicide came to an end.

Officers called to 321 S. 48th St. shortly after 3 a.m. found two victims with gunshot wounds. One was pronounced dead at the scene, said Lincoln Police Capt. Danny Reitan.

Hours later, Brandon R. Benson, 21, of Lincoln, was booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony.

A second person, Joseph L. Bratt, 20, of Lincoln, was arrested for aiding and abetting first-degree murder.

The names of the victims have not been released.

A woman who lives a block from the one-story home where the shooting took place said a neighbor’s barking dog awakened her just after 3 a.m.

She went to grab a drink of water, when she heard "between 20 and 30 gunshots." When she called 911, a dispatcher asked if she might have heard fireworks. The sounds were “too evenly spaced” to be anything but gunshots, she said.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, heard sirens “maybe five minutes later” and went outside to make sure she wasn’t imagining the whole thing.

No information was provided on the condition of the second person shot. Police said more details would be available Monday morning.

About noon Sunday, police tape surrounded the one-story white house with two cars parked in the driveway.

Neighbors contacted Sunday said they didn't know who lived at the house.

“I thought they were shooting up the school,” another woman said.

The home is across the street from the former Hawthorne Elementary, which now houses Lincoln Public Schools administrative offices and the district's alternative high school. A day care is just to the north of the home where the shooting occurred.

Another neighbor who heard the gunshots first assumed it was just sounds from cars racing down O Street.

“I lived here for 15 years and nothing’s happened like that,” the woman said.

Police barriers blocked traffic on 48th from L to O streets for much of the morning as investigators worked the scene.

It's the first murder investigated in Lincoln in nearly a year. On Dec. 7, 2014, the body of Kelsey Miller was found in a storage unit. She had been missing since Thanksgiving of last year.

Kevin "Mike" Miller was sentenced to life in prison for his wife's death.

Police also investigated the death of a man found under a West O Street bridge in July. An autopsy determined Robbie Young died of blunt force trauma to the head, and authorities ultimately ruled his death accidental.

Lincoln's last calendar year without a homicide was 1991.

Benson already faces charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possessing money and a firearm while intending to deliver a controlled substance from an April 2 incident, according to court documents.

Officers found a 12-gauge shotgun between his mattresses during his arrest on July 31, leading to additional gun possession charges. He was out of jail on bail, awaiting his next court appearance.

An incident report from Sunday's shooting indicates police found bullet holes in the front of the house and in the home's front door. A separate report indicates the victim knew Benson.

No bail has been set following Sunday's arrest.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or mshoro@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @mike_shoro.


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