Suspect in Anaheim PD Shooting Identified as Cousin of Santa Ana Councilman

"They killed him," the councilman said. "This was a mental health crisis. He needed help."

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Santa Ana city officials issued condolences Thursday to Councilman Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, after officers from nearby Anaheim fatally shot his cousin Brandon Lopez after an hours-long standoff.

Several investigations into the shooting are ongoing, including by the California Department of Justice.

Hernandez said his cousin was having a mental health crisis when he was shot. Hernandez and other family members of Lopez were present at the scene of the standoff when the shooting occurred.

"They killed him," Hernandez told the website Voice of OC. "In my district, in my city, in front of his family, my family member gets killed on the very block he grew up in, by a police department that isn't even from here. Then they left. They just dipped. Business as usual. This was a mental health crisis. He needed help."

Lopez, who was identified as a suspect with a history of armed robberies, was seen by police driving a stolen vehicle around 5 p.m. Tuesday in Santa Ana and when two Anaheim police patrol vehicles attempted to stop him, he drove away and a police pursuit began, said Sgt. Shane Carringer of the Anaheim Police Department.

An Anaheim police helicopter joined the pursuit along with Santa Ana police and Lopez's vehicle became disabled after he crashed into a railroad construction site in the area of Santa Ana Boulevard and Bristol Street, where police attempted to negotiate a surrender with him, Carringer said.

Police negotiators spent three hours trying to negotiate with Lopez to surrender peacefully before SWAT personnel from the Anaheim Police Department took over. They worked for over an hour to attempt to persuade him to surrender but Lopez refused.

Just before 10 p.m. Tuesday officers used chemical agents to draw Lopez out of his vehicle and after he stepped out, a police officer shot him.

Video shows Lopez exiting the car after a cloud of chemical agents is released. Multiple gunshots can be heard on the recording. Investigators Wednesday were working to determine how many rounds were fired and by whom.

Carringer said only Anaheim police were involved in the shooting.

Lopez died at the scene and no officers were injured, police said.

Santa Ana police will be assisting the Orange County District Attorney's Office with the investigation of the shooting. The Anaheim PD Major Incident Review Team and Internal Affairs, along with the Anaheim Police Review Board and the Office of Independent Review, were also at the scene of the shooting to investigate.

The California DOJ is investigating the incident under Assembly Bill 1506, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in a statement Wednesday evening.

AB 1506 requires the California DOJ to "investigate and review for potential criminal liability an officer-involved shooting," particularly when the shooting results "in the death of an unarmed civillian," according to the California Attorney General's website.

Lopez is survived by four children and his parents.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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