Omaha Radio Station Faces Facebook Firestorm for Mocking Murder of Neighborhood “Paletero Man”

Aug 24, 2012
11:49 PM

This morning Omaha's Channel 94.1 crew was doing its news segment, when the show's personalities began to talk about the murder of 63-year-old Gilberto Hernández Vázquez, a beloved "paletero man" who roamed an Omaha neighborhood for 11 years. Here is what the morning show decided to talk about after they shared an update about Hernández Vázquez's death:

The 45-second segment caused a social media uproar on the station's Facebook page. What follows is a sampling of the hundreds of comments that were made today, along with some of the canned replies from the page's admin:

According to local reports, the murder of Hernández Vázquez has left many in the Omaha neighborhood he served shaken by the tragedy. Here is what one Omaha station reported:

“This was an innocent man who roamed my neighborhood for 11 years and so me and my children and grandchildren would get ice cream,” said Janine Rapier. “In fact, he grew up with my family."

Rapier's brother built the cross that is now adorned with flowers in honor of 63-year old Gilberto Hernandez-Vazquez, the neighborhood ice cream man. Janine still has the hot peppers she planned to give him Thursday night.

“He was saving up to actually go back to Mexico where his family is located,” said Joaquin Manzanales. “It's horrible this happened. He was a good guy around the neighborhood, he really was. Even on scorching hot days he would give the kids free ice cream."

The neighborhood already misses his generosity, his gentle smile, the sound of the horn on his cart. It will be hard to explain to the children.

“A half-hour before this happened I was walking my dog and he was selling ice cream,” said Dawn Dvorak. “I said hi and he wanted to know if I wanted ice cream, but didn't have a dollar on me. I was going to go later on to get some ice cream from him and this all happened. It's tragic. I hope they find out who did this to him."

We learn the impact the ice cream man had on his customers.

“We will never forget your kindness, the Rapier family."