For release on May 27, 2022
Deputy District Attorney
DA Report: Gilroy Officer Lawfully Killed Wanted Man Who Ambushed Her
A Gilroy police officer lawfully shot and killed a man who lured her to a closed post office at night saying he wanted to surrender. When the officer arrived, the man shot at her multiple times. David Lopez, 40, was shot in the head with a single bullet as he was trying to fire a second gun at the officer after the first one jammed.
“Officer Catalina Fraide’s disciplined response to a live-fire ambush by a violent felon intent on killing police officers is a credit to her training, professionalism, and courage,” Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker said in the 20-page public report. “Under the facts of this case and the applicable law, Officer Fraide reasonably believed she needed to use deadly force to protect herself from being killed by David Lopez, and such force was necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.”
The District Attorney’s Office investigates all fatal law enforcement encounters to determine if the lethal force was legal. By law, officers can use deadly force when they face imminent danger.
Lopez was wanted for attempted murder with a firearm committed just one week earlier when he shot a man in his Gilroy driveway four times and fled.
At 2:00 a.m. on September 28, 2021, he called Gilroy 911 to say he wanted to turn himself in. The dispatcher asked him if he was armed. Lopez said he was not. Asked again, he said “I wouldn’t be calling you if I was armed.”
Officer Fraide arrived first to the U.S. Post Office at Fourth Avenue and Eigleberry Street. When Officer Fraide pulled up to the post office in her patrol car, Lopez fired twice in her direction. Both shots missed the officer, but one bullet lodged in the passenger side window frame. After the first two shots, Lopez’s gun malfunctioned, so he tossed it aside and retrieved a second firearm. After Officer Fraide returned fire, Lopez attempted to fire the second gun at Officer Fraide from behind the cover of a large cement pillar, but the gun did not discharge because it was unloaded. Lopez retreated behind a cement pillar and appeared as if he was attempting to reload the second gun. Officer Fraide, believing Lopez would kill her if he had the chance to reload, returned fire and hit Lopez in the head with a single bullet, killing him.
The Gilroy Police Department posted a video that synchronized the relevant video and audio recordings.
Lopez’s toxicology screen was positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.