Family grieves, police investigate officer-involved shooting

Police said Jonathan Lopez fired at the officer before stashing his gun. However, family members and eyewitnesses said at the time of the shooting, Lopez was not armed.
Family members of Jonathan Lopez, who was shot and killed by a Bakersfield police officer, call the shooting unjustified. Some witnesses say Lopez was unarmed when he was killed.

But, police say Lopez had a gun and fired at Officer Keith Cason, who then feared for his life.

"Our son, he's got a good heart."

Cigarettes and beer, a few of Jonathan Lopez's favorite things, sit in an alley in northeast Bakersfield as a reminder to the community that it's the spot where Lopez died.

"He's well respected. He helps people. He loves kids," said his parents, who still can't believe their 28-year-old son is gone.

"I am still in shock. I don't know what to think." Bernie Lopez said, just before the shooting, he and Jonathan walked to his sister's house. "My son had just woken up."

Bernie went home and Jonathan stayed. And, that's when the family suspects the pursuit started. Police say Officer Keith Cason saw Jonathan carrying a firearm so he asked him to stop, but Jonathan ran to an apartment complex.

"Once they were out on Niles Street, Lopez stopped and turned his firearm at Officer Cason," said Lt. Jorge Gomez, Bakersfield Police Department. "Officer Cason immediately retrieved his weapon and returned fire."

Police say Jonathan ran into an alley, and Officer Cason followed.

"Officer Cason then ordered Lopez to stop. However, he continued to ignore his commands which, in turn, Officer Cason continued to fire at Lopez who, at that point, stopped fleeing," said Gomez.

Witnesses say Lopez was unarmed and was trying to climb a fence when the officer shot him.

"He got shot in the leg. He was jumping on one leg saying 'got no gun, got no gun,' and they continued to shoot him," said Princess Smith, who lives nearby.

Both Smith and Cynthia Soltero say they saw the same thing.

"When he fell over he went like this to surrender, and the cop jumped over the fence and just went boom, boom, boom," said Soltero.

However, police recovered a gun they say Lopez tossed after he shot at Officer Cason. Police say a woman recovered it and was arrested for concealing evidence.

Lopez's family doesn't think there was a weapon. They say their son was murdered, and they want Officer Cason arrested.

"We're going to do whatever we can to make sure this cop gets what he has coming, justice," they said.

Jonathan Lopez has an extensive criminal record, including an assault with a deadly weapon conviction.

He was recently released from prison as part of prison realignment.

This is Cason's second officer-involved shooting. He shot a suspect in May 2011. The review board deemed that shooting justified.

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