A story for every victim

Antonio Lopez, 31

Antonio Lopez, a 31-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Wednesday, July 6, at the corner of North Santa Fe Avenue and East Pine Street in Compton, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Lopez was walking to a friend’s apartment about 8:44 p.m. when a man walked up behind him and shot him multiple times, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Cotter. 

Witnesses provided few details about the shooter, describing him as black, male, “maybe in his 20s,” Cotter said. Investigators have little information about a motive. 

“There was no conversation, no yelling of gang names or ‘Where you from?’; none of the typical stuff,” Cotter said. “We have nothing to document that Mr. Lopez was in a gang, but where he was killed, there are at least three Hispanic gangs and one black gang that all converge at that intersection.”

Lopez, the youngest of seven siblings, was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead at 9:14 p.m. 

His family didn’t discover until two days later that he was the victim of the shooting they saw on the news that night, said sister Lourdes Lopez.

Her brother lived with one of his sisters in Compton, Lourdes Lopez said, and would sometimes stay out overnight, but he always showed up at the carwash where he worked. He was very dependable, she said. So when he didn’t show up the second day, his siblings sought out his friends who told them he had been shot. 

“They said, ‘You haven’t heard?’ It was a shock, like another hit. I know everybody has their story, but this is really, really hard for us,” Lourdes Lopez said. 

Antonio Lopez

The siblings are very close, she said. They meet in Tijuana every summer for their father's birthday.

Antonio Lopez loved those visits, she said. “He loved to dance and he loved mariachi music. He was truly the life of the party, just a fun cheery person, who was always there to brighten up your day,” she said. “But this year it’s really sad, because our father doesn’t know yet. This weekend we’ll have to break the news that Antonio passed.”

The family is bewildered by the shooting, Loures Lopez said. Her brother wasn’t a gang member. “He didn’t even look like a gang member. He was just a hardworking man who liked to go to work, have fun with his friends and be with his family,” she said. “It’s like wow, how could somebody think he was a threat when he was such a kind-hearted person? His so-called friend was there, but he isn’t saying anything. We’re hoping the camera footage from the liquor store will give the detectives more information."

Her brother’s passion was his fixed-gear bicycle, which takes some skill and practice to ride. That’s one of her last memories of Antonio Lopez -- him showing her 11-year-old son how to ride. 

“He was single, but he had 17 nieces and nephews who loved him,” she said. “As the kids would say, ‘He was our best uncle.’ He loved being a kid with his nieces and nephews.” 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

Photos: (First) Antonio Lopez in a family photo. (Second) Antonio Lopez holds a crab and jokes with family in San Pedro earlier this year. Credit: Lopez family

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