Local News

SBI Says Murder Suspect Killed By Police Had Gun That Jammed

Posted June 3, 1996

— June 4, 1996, 11:55 a.m. EDTRelated Audio

Related AudioRelated WRAL Audio Files:

  • Shooting witness Tommy Walton disputes police reports that Angelo Lopez was holding a gun before he was shot. Listen toauorReal Audiofile.
  • Fran Borden of the Durham Police Department say the officers who shot Lopez acted properly. Listen toauorReal Audiofile.Investigators sorting through Sunday's fatal police shooting of a murder suspect say the man killed had a gun that apparently had jammed.

    That contradicts statements made by a witness who was in a car with the victim, Angel Lopez, just before the shooting. He claims that police shot Lopez, who was being sought in connection with the shooting death of his girlfriend, without cause.

    But police said a jammed pistol was found on the ground near Lopez.

    Two Durham police officers -- David Todd Rose and Richard Coleman Spivey -- said they fired at Lopez after he pointed a gun at them.

    Police initially responded to a call about a shooting victim at 2813 Broad Street, where they found 37-year-old Marie Falcon with at least one fatal gunshot wound to the head.

    Information from another occupant of the house and neighbors led police to broadcast an all points bulletin, searching for Lopez and a neighbor, both of whom reportedly drove off in the neighbor's older model Buick.

    Police said the shooting suspect had gone to neighbor Tommy Walton's house and asked Walton to drive him to Daughtry's Trailer Park on University Drive.

    In about 15 minutes, a Durham patrol unit spotted the car as it was entering the trailer park. Another unit arrived as Walton's car came to a stop.

    Police said as Lopez got out of the car, he pointed a weapon at them. They fired, and Lopez was shot at least once, dying at the scene.

    Walton said Lopez did not have a gun with him.

    The two Durham police officers involved were assigned to administrative duties, pending an investigation being carried out by the State Bureau of Investigation.

    Results of that investigation will be turned over to District Attorney Jim Hardin Jr., who will determine whether the officer's use of force was justified

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