Mother Awarded $2 Million for Police Killing of Son Uses Cash to Buy Guns for Gangs

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After reaching a $4.9 million settlement with the city of Fresno, Calif., over the death of her teenage son who was fatally shot by police in 2017, Christina Lopez spent thousands on guns, law enforcement said, and gave them to another son, 14, who was selling them to fellow gang members, reports the Washington Post. Lopez faces 22 charges, including child endangerment and conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang. She could serve up to 10 years in state prison, according to Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp, who accused Lopez of encouraging gang activity “by providing the financial means” to buy guns.

The arrest of Lopez is part of a larger investigation into gang activity in Fresno County which alleges that a street gang member currently serving life in prison for a 2014 murder has been directing teenagers belonging to the gang to commit murders. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the county’s gang task force, arrested 14 people and seized 12 firearms. Among those facing charges are an 18-year-old, four 19-year-olds and a 13-year-old. Lopez’s 14-year-old son was also arrested and faces felony charges for gun possession, conspiracy to commit crimes and street gang enhancements, according to law enforcement. Lopez’s attorneys argue that the arrest is simply retaliation for her winning the largest settlement against Fresno in its history. It is unclear if the district attorney’s office is able to seize the money awarded to Lopez for her son’s fatal shooting.

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