Angel Miguel Lopez
Reported by CBS8
SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - The widow of a 27-year-old parolee is speaking publicly for the first time about the fatal shooting of her husband by a police officer, following a stakeout and foot chase in the College area.
Lydia Lopez tells News 8 that her husband Angel Miguel Lopez didn’t have to die, and that she will struggle to cope with raising their twin 10-month-old sons without their father.
Angel Lopez died about 1 p.m. Thursday at the scene of the officer-involved shooting just east of San Diego State University, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office.
The series of events that led to Lopez’s death had begun several hours earlier, when a state parole agent notified San Diego police that two wanted ex-cons with extensive criminal records were believed to be at an apartment building in the 5400 block of Reservoir Drive, and at least one of them was believed to have a gun, SDPD homicide Lt. Jorge Duran said.
Officers surrounded the complex and put it under surveillance into the early afternoon. They were preparing to call the suspects out when the pair emerged from the building.
“When officers attempted to contact the (parolees), they both ran,” Duran said.
Police quickly cornered Lopez and ordered him to show his hands. Instead, he allegedly turned toward the officers while reaching into a pocket, as if retrieving a weapon.
“Fearing he was about to be assaulted, the officer closest to (Lopez) fired his duty weapon, striking (him) at least once,” Duran said.
Authorities have not disclosed whether Lopez was armed at the time of his death and have yet to release the name of the 12-year SDPD veteran who shot him.
Lydia Lopez says she still has questions about the officer’s confrontation with her husband.
“There was no reason for them to come at him the way they did. For all they know, he could have been pulling up his pants.”
San Diego Police maintain that the officer felt that his life was threatened and had no choice but to open fire.
Following the gunfire, officers evacuated the apartment building and searched the complex and surrounding neighborhood for the second parolee-at-large. Nearby Alvarado Hospital was put on lockdown as a precaution.
Several hours later, an officer found the outstanding suspect in the area and took him into custody with help from a good Samaritan who helped tackle the fleeing man and hold him down. Police have not released the arrestee’s name.
News 8 has also learned more about Lopez’s criminal past, which included a history of drugs and weapons arrests, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty to armed robbery in 2002.
Lopez’s widow says he was trying to turn his life around.
“People make mistakes — nobody’s perfect — but he didn’t deserve this. Especially his children didn’t deserve this.”
It was the third time in less than a week that San Diego police shot a suspect.