A Madera, California, woman who received roughly $5 million from a settlement after police fatally shot her son was arrested after purchasing guns allegedly for another son and gang members.
Christina Lopez, 42, received $4.9 million last April following the 2017 death of her son, 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp stated, “Clearly, this family has been seasoned in this type of behavior,” as ABC 30 noted. Smittcamp added, “She has continued now to take the money from her settlement that she received from the city of Fresno to buy a home where she lives in addition to spending thousands of dollars on guns that she has in turn given to her 14-year-old son.” ABC 30 stated, “Prosecutors say she bought guns and gave them to that son to distribute to gang members.”
“Lopez faces 22 counts of gun trafficking charges including conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang, child endangerment and conspiracy to provide a firearm to a gang member, police said,” the New York Post reported.
Lopez’s attorney, Ralph Torres, protested that she had moved so her remaining children would not get into trouble, adding, “We have to see what they have and what type of concrete, physical evidence that we can look at so that would connect her.”
In October 2020, Smittcamp thundered a powerful message to California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom at a press conference dealing with the surge in violent crime caused by the release of criminals from prisons, stating, “Stop using COVID-19 to promote your political agenda. The blood of the children being shot by out-of-control gang members in our city is on your hands, and on the hands of every person who does not make public safety a priority.”
The press conference was held the same day as San Quentin officials were considering whether to appeal the state’s decision to release over 1,100 inmates.
Smittcamp stated, “The law enforcement agencies represented behind me are the ones fighting on the front lines to bring peace to our community. We are in some of the most violent times that we have ever seen … In the midst of this, our last two governors vowed to close state prisons. Governor Newsom announced that he will close the state prison facility on Tracy, California, on September 30, 2021.”
“Why is this relevant to why we are here today?” she asked rhetorically. “It is relevant because we are lacking bed space to house local criminals who are shooting up our cities and killing our children and each other.”
“His solution to COVID protection and prevention is letting them out of prison with no regard for their victims and the communities they will return to terrorize,” Smittcamp charged.
“This spring, the state expedited the release of 3,500 inmates because of the coronavirus, and in July it freed 2,345 others early. Thousands more are eligible for release, including at least 6,500 deemed to be at high risk because of medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” the Los Angeles Times reported in August 2020.
In late September 2020, Fresno City Council Member Luis Chavez stated that 600 criminals had been released back into the city since April, adding, “We’re in the middle of a crime wave, and that is not a term that I use loosely because that’s how it’s being described here in our city. And we need to really step up and prioritize public safety.”
Fresno Council Member Garry Bredefeld echoed, “In our community I believe we’ve had 38 murders to date. We are far surpassing what occurred last year all across our city. I understand there’s been an 80 percent increase in shootings since April, and a 70 percent increase in stabbings. I mean, there is gunfire all over the place and we need to make our citizens safe. We need to continue to give the police the resources to deal with this.”
Smittcamp, controlling her fury, continued, “The last four or five women in this community, and the last four or five victims in this community have been killed or shot. Innocent women, innocent people caught in gunfire have been women of color. It is enough. Enough is enough.”