‘He Couldn't Find the Air to Scream Help': Innocent Bystander Killed in Norwalk Shootout Identified

It is not known whether a deputy or the suspect fired the shot that killed 67-year-old Pedro Lopez.

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The 67-year-old innocent bystander fatally shot during a shootout between sheriff's deputies and an attempted carjacking suspect in Norwalk was identified Saturday by the coroner's office.

It is not known whether a deputy or the suspect fired the shot that killed Pedro Lopez.

The carjacking suspect was wounded during the shooting and taken to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

The suspect was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Authorities later learned the innocent bystander died of their wounds, and they are now investigating who fired the fatal shot. Video aired Feb. 18, 2022.

Lopez was found by deputies lying on the ground unresponsive during a check of the surrounding yard of the location, according to a statement issued Friday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Paramedics were summoned to the location and determined he sustained trauma to the upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

The shooting was reported shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday in the 12100 block of Foster Road, near San Antonio Drive. Deputies had gone to the area to search for a suspect "who committed a recent assault with a deadly weapon with a firearm and attempted carjacking in Norwalk," a department statement said.

"Deputies located the suspect who was walking in the area. A deputy attempted to detain the suspect, at which time the suspect produced a handgun, and a deputy-involved shooting occurred. The suspect attempted to flee on foot when an additional deputy engaged him and a second deputy-involved shooting occurred," the statement continued.

"The suspect continued to flee, still armed with a handgun as he entered a front yard of a nearby residence. An additional deputy attempted to detain him, and a third deputy-involved shooting occurred. The suspect proceeded to make entry into that location, at which time the residents, who did not know the suspect, proceeded to exit and made contact with the deputies," the statement said.

Lopez's granddaughter, who did not want to be identified, told NBC4 that she came face-to-face with the suspect.

"I confronted the guy in the dining room," she said. "I asked him 3 times, where is my grandpa, and he just told me that he was outside."

She says she went outside and found Lopez, her grandfather, on the ground.

"When he said he was outside, I thought he probably saw him when he ran out. But it wasn't like that. In my mind I would have never thought my grandpa would be laying down, laying there, gasping for air," Lopez's granddaughter said.

"He couldn't find the air to scream help, because it would have hurt him."

A SWAT team from the Special Enforcement Bureau was sent to the scene and, after locating the suspect with gunshot wounds, arrested him.

No deputies were injured. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Friday that the state Department of Justice will independently review the shooting death, pursuant to Assembly Bill 1506, which require the AG to investigate law enforcement shootings that result in the death of unarmed civilians.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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