Lopez vaulted a nearby fence and hid in a backyard shed containing Christmas decorations. The homeowner saw the intrusion, and a neighbor flagged down Alvarado’s patrol car. The officer drew his gun “when he came up the driveway,” recalled the homeowner. Within a minute or so, a single gunshot resonated through the neighborhood. When asked by the horrified homeowner what had happened, Alvarado — who reportedly looked “dazed or distant” — replied that Lopez “came at me.”
“The suspect bull rushed his way out of the shed and lunged right at me,” the timorous creature later claimed in an official report. “The suspect was literally inches away from me, and I feared for my own safety.”(Emphasis added.)
Alvarado was lying, of course. An autopsy revealed “no evidence of close range firing [on] the wound,” and no gunpowder stains were found on the victim’s bloody t-shirt.
Although he’s been removed from patrol duty, Alvarado remains on the force, albeit in a tax-subsidized sinecure. Although he had repeatedly been threatened with termination for sloppiness or defiance in carrying out administrative duties, Alvarado faces neither criminal prosecution nor professional censure for murdering a 14-year-old boy. Apparently, insubordination in carrying out office functions is a much graver matter than insubordination that results in the needless death of an adolescent Mundane.
As the case of Derek Lopez illustrates, a childish prank could be treated as a capital offense, with summary execution carried out by a corrupt cop who doesn’t have to endure so much as a slap on the wrist.