January 3, 2013 5:47 pm ET
Officer had no choice and acted properly as evidence indicates.
In a letter addressed to the Baltimore County Police Department’s Homicide Division, Deputy State’s Attorney Robin S. Coffin wrote that the North Point Precinct officers involved in the shooting death of Mr. Joshua Lopez were justified.
Mr. Lopez was in the Navy and lived in Texas at the time of this incident this past fall. The findings were based on the police investigation of the shooting which started when neighbors called 911 to report a suspicious subject in the area of Seaside Road and Dunnmanway in Dundalk on Sept. 23, 2012, at 2:15 am.
At the time of the incident, police spokesperson Lt. Robert McCullough issued a press release to Patch that stated the following: “The officers were attempting to interview the subject when he became combative. The subject then suddenly attempted to take one of the officer’s firearm. Fearing for the officers’ safety, a second officer pulled out his firearm and shot the subject.”
Officer Twisdale suffered injuries as a result of the confrontation.
The police department’s Homicide Division investigated the incident and submitted its findings to the State’s Attorney’s Office, which reviewed the case.
The letter to the Homicide Division was dated Oct. 31, 2012, and was obtained through the filing of a PIA (Public Information Act) request. It reads as follows:
“Dear Lt. Duty:
I have reviewed the investigation in the above-referenced matter and the actions of Officers Twisdale and Heins. The officers attempted every non-lethal use of force available to subdue the suspect, Joshua Lopez. As the suspect attempted to remove Officer Twisdale’s handgun, Officer Heins had no choice but to use deadly force. It is my conclusion that the shooting of Lopez was justified. The conduct of Officer Heins was well within the law and necessary to protect both officers’ lives. Accordingly, this office will not take any further action.”
The letter was signed by Robin S. Coffin, Deputy State’s Attorney for Baltimore County.
According to an officer inside the Homicide Division who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the division has been in touch with Mr. Lopez’s father, who is also from Texas and a law enforcement officer. Mr. Lopez (the father) was invited to come to Baltimore County and meet with investigators.
According to police spokesperson Cpl. Cathy Batton, and a story covered by Patch in the initial reports, incriminating evidence was found in Mr. Lopez’s possession.
This blogger spoke to Cpl. Batton who advised that the police located Mr. Lopez’s vehicle and found numerous stolen items including some of which they are still in the process of notifying the owners.