As Paul J. Riederer walked with a woman near his home early Tuesday, a man said something insulting to her.
Riederer spoke up to defend the woman, a longtime friend, and paid for it with his life.
The account of the stabbing death came Tuesday night from a neighbor, Caroline Spencer, 49, who tended to the 74-year-old man until Omaha firefighters arrived.
Riederer had managed to walk back to his apartment building, Jackson Tower, 600 S. 27th St., before he collapsed.
Spencer helped to take off his overalls as he writhed in a hallway.
And she talked to him, hoping he would not drift into unconsciousnesses.
There was not a lot of blood. Spencer said Riederer initially thought he had been struck in the torso, not stabbed.
“I kind of panicked when I saw his intestines, though,” she said.
Riederer told police officers, who responded to the apartment building about 12:15 a.m., that he had a “confrontation” with two people, a police spokesman said.
Initially police believed the wound was not life-threatening, and Riederer was taken to Creighton University Medical Center. His condition worsened, though, and he soon died.
Riederer, whose criminal history was limited to two traffic tickets, was often seen with a bag he used to collect cans and with his dog, a Chihuahua-like mutt, at his side.
“He was overprotective of his master,” Spencer said of the dog.
Police did not say where they believe the stabbing occurred and had not announced any arrests in connection with the killing, the eighth in the city this month.
Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call a detective at 402-444-5652 or, anonymously, Crime Stoppers at 402-444-7867.