Crime

Lexington man shot while trying to protect daughter is taken off life support

A Lexington man shot while trying to protect his daughter from a gun-wielding ex-boyfriend was taken off life support and died Wednesday, his family said.

Librado Romero, 45, was pronounced dead about noon, they said. Romero apparently had been unresponsive at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital since being shot in the head at his Wayland Drive home Monday.

Edgar Noel Vieyra of Georgetown, an ex-boyfriend of Romero's daughter, was charged with three counts of first-degree assault and one count each of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and violating a domestic violence order. He pleaded not guilty. The coroner had not ruled the death a homicide Wednesday, which is required before a murder charge may be filed against Vieyra.

Police said Vieyra, 18, entered the Romeros' home about 2:15 a.m. Monday and opened fire.

Romero was shot in the back and forehead, said his son Ulises Romero. The family found the elder Romero outside his daughter's bedroom door, where he had tried to keep the shooter from entering, he said.

Romero's daughter Nallely has three children with Vieyra, the family said. She had an active restraining order against Vieyra, according to court documents.

Vieyra "was mad that she left him," said Stephen Bryant, Nallely Romero's brother-in-law. Bryant is married to Jenny Romero, Nallely's sister.

Family members are seeking donations for the cremation and funeral for Librado Romero. The Brenda D. Cowan Coalition is helping them set up a memorial fund at a local bank, and arrangements were pending Wednesday.

Bryant and Ulises Romero spoke exclusively with the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. Nallely, who had bruises on her face, sat in the background with Jenny and did not speak about the incident. Her family was hesitant to discuss what led to the restraining order because it probably would play a part in the criminal case.

The mood lightened as they remembered Librado Romero, who moved to the United States from Mexico about 20 years ago. His love for fishing was second only to his love for his family, especially his grandchildren, they said.

"He took them to Chuck E. Cheese every Sunday," Ulises Romero said. "He spoiled them. He loved them more than anything."

That was what led him to confront Vieyra, they said.

Nallely was warming up a bottle for her 7-month-old twins when she saw Vieyra in the yard through a window, they said. She called police and began screaming, they said. Vieyra then broke into the house through the back door, they said.

During the scuffle in which Librado Romero was shot, Maria Romero, Nallely's mother, apparently hit Vieyra with a lamp and caused him to drop the gun, Bryant said. Nallely and Jenny then rushed Vieyra, and Bryant jumped on him and held him down until police arrived, he said.

After the fray, Librado Romero lay barely breathing in the hall. Maria Romero was shot in the stomach, chest and neck. She was in the hospital recovering Wednesday.

Nallely had been punched in the face and grazed by a bullet. Jenny Romero was hit with the gun and had two deep gashes on her head.

Church services and a candlelight vigil for Librado Romero were pending Wednesday. Vieyra, who declined to speak to reporters from jail this week, remained in the Fayette County Detention Center on a $40,000 bond.

The family said they were wary of Vieyra before the incident.

"It was something that was in the back of our heads ... that he would come over to the house and start something," Bryant said. "But nothing along the lines of this far."

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