Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) ordered flags to fly at half-staff at state buildings to honor the life of Yavapai County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Richard Lopez, who was shot in the line of duty Tuesday.
“Arizona mourns Sgt. Richard Lopez, a man who answered the call of duty to protect and serve his community,” Ducey said. “This needless violence is truly terrible. Arizona will always stand with our brave law enforcement. Sgt. Lopez was an incredible community servant whose life was cut too short by a senseless act of lawlessness. Our prayers are with Sgt. Lopez’s wife and children, friends and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) colleagues. In his honor, all state flags will be lowered to half-staff Friday, July 1.”
An honor procession for the fallen officer was held Wednesday, transporting him home to Yavapai County. Sgt. Lopez’s family and first responders made up the procession, which started at the medical examiner’s office, traveled through Prescott Valley, and ended at the Sunrise Funeral Home.
As reported by ABC 15, court documents revealed that onlookers witnessed Robert McDowell, 61, chasing Sgt. Lopez in a Cordes Lakes neighborhood. The sound of a gunshot rang, and neighbors called 911 after finding Sgt. Lopez was lying unresponsive on the ground. The documents indicate that Lopez was in the area surveying McDowell’s home for a search warrant and deputies were trying to serve paperwork to McDowell regarding a previous incident. In a police report, deputies said McDowell made a threat toward Lopez.
McDowell is suspected of shooting Lopez, and is charged with first-degree murder.
SUSPECT IN FATAL SHOOTING OF YAVAPAI COUNTY SHERIFF’S SERGEANT IDENTIFIED
Robert McDowell, 61 of Mayer; charged with 1st degree murder. DPS will oversee the investigation. @ycsoaz https://t.co/mj5qOr59eR pic.twitter.com/QkY2sN1FaX
— Yavapai Co Sheriff's Office (@YavapaiSheriff) June 29, 2022
The YCSO held a press conference, led by Sheriff David Rhodes, on the day of the incident, revealing details and sharing words about Sgt. Lopez.
Rhodes said that after receiving the 911 call, officers arrived on the scene and found Lopez unresponsive. They took him to the nearest fire department, where he was airlifted to an HonorHealth Hospital. The wounded officer underwent surgery but ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
Meanwhile, McDowell barricaded himself inside his home. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) and YCSO eventually apprehended him and brought him into custody at the county sheriff’s office.
Rhodes revealed that Sgt. Lopez was affectionately known as “R-Lo,” and had served at YCSO for 14 years after leaving a career in management.
“We’re hurt,” said Rhodes. “Our agency is hurting. Absolutely unnecessary. And I will tell you this, the violence against law enforcement, we are seeing it escalate everywhere, and it has got to stop. These are community servers. There are people who are out there serving the community, protecting life, liberty, and property. They do not deserve this.”
The AZDPS took over the investigation. Rhodes said there would be more information on the case in the future.
Sgt. Lopez is survived by his wife and two daughters.
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