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Father of seven killed in Las Vegas carjacking chase two days after Christmas

A suspect shot his mother in Las Vegas two days after Christmas and then went on to lead police on a wild car chase where he stole a police vehicle, carjacked multiple people at gunpoint before shooting dead a father of seven who was on his way to work, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).

The suspect, who has not been named, was eventually killed after police fired shots into the final stolen vehicle of his crime spree, a van owned by 39-year-old Jerry Lopez.

The unnamed suspect had just shot and killed Lopez. He then dragged Lopez’s body out of the van and attempted to flee just before 4 a.m. 


As the suspect took off, police officers fired multiple rounds into the stolen van, which came to a halt a short time later at a stop at Durango Drive and Agate Avenue, which is about 11 miles southwest of the Las Vegas strip.

Lopez leaves behind a wife and seven children aged between three and eleven, according to The Associated Press. 

Karen Lopez said her husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time, having pulled over the family van he was driving for the police vehicles that were pursuing the suspect.

Married for 13 years, Karen and Jerry Lopez fostered 12 children since 2017. Six of the kids returned to their biological parents. They adopted the other six, making their 11-year-old biological son a big brother to two sisters and four brothers, according to The AP. 

“He was such an amazing father to our kids,” Karen Lopez told The AP. “He would just walk through the door after work, throw his stuff down and just jump right in it with the kids, not even taking two minutes to himself.”

A family picture including slain Jerry Lopez with his wife and children

It is unclear what set the suspect off on the deadly rampage, which began at about 3:45 a.m. when police say he shot his mother near his childhood home near Placid Street and Maulding Avenue in southeastern Las Vegas. When officers arrived to investigate that shooting, they heard more gunfire and took cover.

According to Captain Joshua Martinez of the LVMPD, The suspect then stole an LVMPD patrol vehicle and used it to burst through a containment area that police had set up.


An image of the crime scene in Las Vegas

Officers then initiated a vehicle pursuit and observed the suspect driving to the 7300 block of South Durango Drive – about eight miles west of his parents’ home – where he abandoned the police vehicle. 

He then carjacked a citizen in a truck at gunpoint and fled to the 8500 block of Blue Diamond Road, where he abandoned the stolen truck and attempted to carjack another person in an SUV, police said. 

The suspect pointed a firearm at the person, which led to an LVMPD officer discharging a weapon. The suspect then fled in the SUV.

Captain Joshua Martinez of the LVMPD


The early-morning police chase continued to the area of Durango Drive and Windmill Lane, where the suspect fatally shot Lopez.

Officers said they saw the suspect removing the victim from the van. LVMPD officers and Nevada State Police officers then fired their weapons toward the suspect’s vehicle as it was fleeing, “striking the vehicle multiple times.”

Medical personnel responded, and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

No officers were injured during the incidents, police said. 

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