Anaheim Police Kill Unarmed BRANDON LOPEZ in Santa Ana.

A Santa Ana friend of ours was posting on Facebook last night about this killing that happened right outside his home around 10 om. He was unable to get any photos himself because the Anaheim police – there in Santa Ana – had taped off too large a perimeter:

The cops just killed someone behind my house. This whole thing was just really awful and unnecessary IMO. At first I heard the bird and figured it was just whatevers SanTana stuff. Then I saw the post. You could hear them trying to talk him to get out of the car for hours. Then it’s like the police just got impatient shot gas first and then shot bullets right after. They didn’t wait for the gas to do anything.

My neighbors and I heard everything, this happened right behind my house. It’s really sad and didn’t need to happen. He could have been tased, they could have waited him out. A number of things could have been done to avoid this outcome. It’s really horrible that the community had to listen to someone get murdered because police got impatient and don’t care to handle someone’s crisis appropriately.

The news reports out this morning, as well as the APD press release, call the victim an “armed robbery suspect,” but do not claim that a weapon was found on him or his car. They also describe the vehicle he was driving as “stolen.”

This sure makes it sound like this was some armed MENACE, out on some RAMPAGE SPREE, that the APD thankfully put out of commission, doesn’t it?

Actually the young man, whose family we’ve be in touch with (second hand), was OUT ON BAIL for a robbery, he had no weapon, and he had just borrowed his girlfriend’s car without permission after a quarrel. More details coming real soon, along with his name.

But the most disturbing part for now is – why the hail of gunfire when this unarmed man exited the car after being tear-gassed? This is the kind of thing that future suspects, who MAY be armed, will remember when being coaxed into surrender.

Here is a video, courtesy of “OC Hoods” on Instagram. More to come…


Press reports say that District Attorney Todd “he feared for his life” Spitzer will be in charge of investigating this … but if we’re correct that the guy wasn’t armed, it should go instead to Attorney General Rob Bonta, under AB 1506.

Our Santa Ana friend posted this morning:

This happened 100ft away from my house. It was a really messed up situation, the entire neighborhood had to listen to him have his life taken by the police. Traumatizing to say the least. It’s bad enough that we have to worry about SAPD, apparently now it’s ok for the police from other cities to come to Santa Ana and shoot people. The disregard for the community here is disgraceful, one of the officers could have easily missed and a bullet could have hit myself, my son, or my neighbors. My condolences go out to his family.

His name was Brandon Lopez.

And it turns out he was a cousin of new Santa Ana Councilman Johnathan Hernandez, who witnessed the whole thing (see today’s Voice of OC.)      Jhonathan, who ran partly on a platform of police reform, says his cousin Brandon was having a “mental health crisis,” putting this event in the context of the larger movement of involving more mental health specialists responding to such situations, instead of armed police, something this blog has written about here.

Thursday morning – Statement from City of Santa Ana

The City of Santa Ana offers its deepest condolences to the family of Brandon Lopez, including his cousin, Santa Ana Councilmember Johnathan Ryan Hernandez. Mr. Lopez died on September 28 following an officer-involved shooting involving the Anaheim Police Department in Santa Ana.

Mr. Lopez leaves behind four children, his mother and his father. The City grieves with Councilmember Hernandez and the Lopez family.

The City of Santa Ana encourages anyone who is in need of mental health support to seek help. The Orange County Health Care Agency offers a suicide prevention hotline at (800) 273-8255, a survivor support line at (714) 547-0885, and a support line for anyone who needs mental health or substance abuse support at 877-910-WARM (9276).

Santa Ana Police Department officers weren’t involved in the shooting and provided perimeter support during the incident. Read Santa Ana Police Department’s statement:

The Anaheim Police Department’s statement is available at

Update Thursday night

(That is actually a great picture of Brandon on the right.)

About 150 to 200 people got together at Bristol and Santa Ana Blvd last night (Thursday.)  Brandon sure had a lot of friends and relatives, apart from turning out to be the cousin of Councilman Johnathan Hernandez, who did most of the speaking until Brandon’s father Tony Lopez took the mike.

With a long white ponytail and beard, Tony looks like Karate Kid’s sensei Mr. Miyagi, and has seen a lot of good and bad things since in the 55 years he’s lived there in the Santanita neighborhood.  

When he heard Tuesday night that his son Brandon (Anthony Brandon Lopez actually, father of four of Tony’s grandkids), was stuck in a car a block away and surrounded by Anaheim SWAT cops, he RAN down the street to the scene, ducking right under the crime scene tape, and demanding then begging to be allowed to talk to his son.

And what did the Anaheim Police do?*  Tony got the impression they didn’t even believe he was Brandon’s father, but in any case they locked him up in the back of one of their cars, for the hours it took them to get around to killing Brandon.  I’m told the police also wouldn’t let Brandon’s girlfriend Rosie speak to him.  These are people who probably could have saved Brandon’s life, but it seems that’s not what the Anaheim SWAT team wanted.  *UPDATE – turns out it was the SAPD that locked up Tony in the car.  More to come…


Brandon’s parents and children last night, photo from Vigour Times.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.