A Utah man is accused of fatally shooting his mother in the face as the family sat down at the dinner table—then dancing next to the body with his 14-year-old sister, who police believe was aware of the grisly plan.
Mike Lopez, 23, is now facing charges of first-degree murder, domestic violence in the presence of a child and possession of a weapon by a restricted person in the death of his 43-year-old mother Victoria Ramirez, according to Deseret News.
Police said Ramirez had been sitting at the dining room table of her Springville home with her teenage daughters, ages 14 and 17, when Lopez walked in to join them.
“All four were seated at the dining room table when (Lopez) pointed the shotgun directly at the victim,” according to charging documents obtained by the news outlet.
Lopez allegedly looked at his 14-year-old sister and the two “gave each other a head nod” before the teenager locked herself in the bathroom.
Ramirez seemed to reference her fate in her final words, telling her son “I know you’re going to kill me, and I love you,” before he “fired a single shot, striking (Ramirez) in the neck and face,” according to the documents.
Ramirez died “almost instantly.” After the fatal gunshot, the 14-year-old allegedly returned to the room and began to stroke her mother’s hair before Lopez grabbed her and the two began to dance next to the dead body.
The 17-year-old sister was able to flee the scene after locking herself in the bathroom and climbing through a window. After escaping, she called her older sister, who reached out to police, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
“The seventeen year old stated she believes her fourteen year old sister knew this was going to happen because [of] the circumstances she had witnessed,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by the paper.
Police arrived to find Lopez “lying in a filled bathtub in a downstairs bathroom with the shotgun leaning against the tub,” charging documents said.
Police said he was acting “unresponsive” but authorities later concluded he was “faking his condition,” at a local hospital and arrested the 23-year-old, KTVX reports.
While being booked into the Utah County Jail, an officer told Lopez he was being booked for killing his mother and he “nodded his head affirmatively and began to cry,” according to court documents.
He told the officer “Someone told me to do it” and said it had seemed like “déjà vu” when he carried out the attack, the affidavit said.
A blood test would later show that Lopez had been under the influence of THC at the time of his arrest, according to authorities.
His 17-year-old sister told authorities that she believed her brother had also been providing marijuana to the 14-year-old and had purchased a shotgun and handgun just one day before the fatal shooting, according to the affidavit.
“She stated Mike has been acting really strange lately where he has been meditating a lot where he claims to go to different dimension and talking about a lot of bad people,” the affidavit said.
Police reported that his 14-year-old sister was “acting very strange” during police interviews and told detectives that she and her brother “have been together a lot lately and they take turns sleeping so they can watch over one another.”
When the detective asked about reports that she had been dancing with her brother after the shooting, she “looked at me and smiled and stated she remembered dancing and then she was trying to recite the song for me,” the detective said in the affidavit.
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