A California mother of six who was awarded $4.9 million in damages after police shot and killed her unarmed 16-year-old son has been using the money to buy guns, prosecutors say – which her 14-year-old son then sold to gang members.
Christina Lopez, 42, was arrested at her home in Madera, 20 miles north west of Fresno.
She was one of 14 people detained following a three-month-long investigation into a July murder carried out by members of the Calwa gang. The 14 arrested were mainly teenagers – the youngest only 13.
Lopez faces felony charges of conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang, child endangerment and conspiracy to provide a firearm to a gang member.
Prosecutors said that Lopez used the cash from an April settlement with Fresno police – the largest in the city’s history – to buy guns.
‘As a mother and a prosecutor and a citizen of this county for my entire life, this is some of the most despicable behavior I’ve ever seen from a human being,’ said Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno county district attorney, at a press conference on Friday announcing the arrests.
Smittcamp said that Lopez’s actions should make people ‘sick to their stomach.’
‘The behavior of this woman is some of the most egregious criminality that I have ever seen,’ Smittcamp continued.
‘It is just horrendous to me that she could do this.’
Smittcamp accused Lopez of encouraging the gang activity ‘by providing the financial means’ to buy guns.
She was awarded the money after Fresno police shot and killed her son Isiah Murrietta-Golding in April 2017.
He and his brother were being sought for the murder of 19-year-old Eugenio Ybarra the day before. His brother, who was a minor and never named, handed himself in the night Murrietta-Golding died, and pleaded guilty to the killing.
Murrietta-Golding was stopped by police in his car at a shopping mall, and got out of the vehicle and ran.
Murrietta-Golding is seen in surveillance camera footage jumping over a fence surrounding a day care facility.
Sgt Ray Villalvazo – one of the two officers chasing the teen – then draws his gun and fires a single shot through the fence, shooting Murrietta-Golding in the head.
Villalvazo’s partner can be heard telling him in the background: ‘Good shot.’
An investigation conducted by the City of Fresno’s Office of Independent Review later found that during the chase, the officers saw Murrietta-Golding repeatedly reach for his waistband while looking at them over his shoulder.
According to the investigation, Villalvazo opened fire believing that Murrietta-Golding was reaching for a gun. He was in fact unarmed.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail