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More details released in the shooting death of YCSO Sgt. Richard Lopez

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 14:14:21-04

For just a moment, members of the Prescott community paused outside the Yavapai County Courthouse Wednesday.

“For the officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty, so it’s very melancholy today,” says Pam Risaliti.

The Prescott native has family that works at the Yavapai Sheriff’s Office. YCSO is currently mourning the loss of Sgt. Richard Lopez, who was killed in the line of duty earlier this week.

“They’re all devastated,” says Risaliti. “The entire department, the city police, they’re devastated. It’s one of their own.”

Newly released court documents detail neighbors witnessing 61-year-old Robert McDowell chasing Sgt. Lopez in a Cordes Lakes neighborhood.

Neighbors called 911 after hearing a gunshot and witnessing Sgt. Lopez lying unresponsive on the ground.

Court documents detail Sgt. Lopez was in the area conducting surveillance on McDowell’s home for a search warrant.

Documents say deputies were trying to serve paperwork to McDowell on a previous incident.

Documents also say McDowell made threats to law enforcement on Nov. 13, 2021.

In a police report, deputies say McDowell stated, ‘If you come in here, you’re going to have to shoot it out with me,’ which was made to Sgt. Lopez.

Documents say McDowell was pacing back and forth in his home with a rifle, refusing to come out, then eventually surrendered.

Sgt. Lopez was airlifted to a Valley hospital after he was shot.

YCSO says Sgt. Lopez went into surgery and died from his injuries, surrounded by family.

Several Yavapai Sheriff’s Officials were positioned outside the hospital. One told ABC15 Sgt. Lopez was his friend of 18 years.

"He’s a great friend, an amazing father, and husband,” says Sgt. Scott Joy with YCSO.

Lopez leaves behind a wife and two daughters and served the department for 14 years.

“We're not out there to hurt people,” Joy says. “We're not out there to cause people problems. We respond when things are happening, and this is an unfortunate side effect of some of the things we do.”

Sgt. Lopez's death is another tragedy for Yavapai County. The Mayor of Prescott released this statement in part saying: "On the eve of the ninth anniversary of the Granite Mountain Hotshots tragedy, a loss like this reminds us of the sacrifices our first responders make every day, putting their lives on the line to protect the Citizens of Yavapai County."

As for McDowell, he’s been booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge. His next court appearance is set for July 6.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety will take over the investigation.

Sgt. Lopez will be brought home Wednesday evening. A motor procession will travel from Phoenix to Sunrise Funeral Home in Prescott Valley. His family and first responders will be with him on the drive.

Memorial Services are set to take place on July 6 at 1 p.m. at Findley Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The public is invited to attend.