Knife-wielding suspect with violent criminal history shot by West Valley City police for second time in 2 years

Police investigators on the scene of an early morning officer-involved shooting in West Valley City, July 15, 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, July 15, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A knife-wielding suspect with a violent criminal history was shot in a confrontation with West Valley City police early Sunday morning — the second time he’s been shot by a policeman in just the past two years.

West Valley City P.D. Public Information Officer Roxeanne Vainuku said a patrol officer encountered Ricardo Jose Lopez, 28, about 6:10 a.m. driving recklessly in an SUV near 3500 South and Decker Lake Drive.

The officer attempted a traffic stop only to have Lopez make a sudden U-turn and drive directly toward the patrol car. The officer swerved to avoid a head-on collision, with the SUV glancing off the back of the squad car and continuing east on 3500 South.

The officer chased Lopez several blocks before he turned onto Schafer Lane near 1745 West.

After coming to a stop, Lopez jumped from the vehicle and ran into a nearby home.

Moments later people from inside the residence made their way outdoors and told police Lopez was a family member who did not live at the home.

Photo: Salt Lake County Jail

They said he was armed with a knife and threatened to kill both police and family members.

SWAT negotiators managed to make contact with Lopez, but he refused to surrender.

As the standoff wore on, police made the decision to fire pepper gas into the house.

According to Vainuku, Lopez came out of the home brandishing a knife and attempted to “engage” officers.

She said police responded by using non-lethal force, including a Taser, before a West Valley City officer shot Lopez once in the torso.

Lopez was taken to the hospital, where he was was treated for a minor gunshot wound and was released into police custody.

Police investigators on the scene of an early morning officer-involved shooting in West Valley City, July 15, 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

Vainuku said this wasn’t the first time Lopez was involved in an officer-involved shooting.

On March 1, 2016, Lopez was confronted by West Valley City police after firing a weapon in the street in front of his residence. Lopez hid in the basement before finally being called out by police. When he refused to put down his pistol, he was shot and wounded by a West Valley City police officer.

The shooting was ultimately ruled justified.

At the time of Sunday’s arrest, Lopez was wanted on an active warrant for a parole violation. He has since been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on third-degree felony charges of failure to stop at the command of an officer and two counts of aggravated assault. Lopez was also booked for interfering with an arrest and assault of a police officer.

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