Thursday, March 15, 2012

Phoenix, AZ: Arizona school crossing guard linked to murder?

PHOENIX - A long time school crossing guard arrested last weekend in a Valley cockfighting ring bust is now facing a murder charge.
Police believe 43-year-old Pedro Lopez shot and killed his estranged wife's boyfriend in September of 2010.
Lopez was arrested on Saturday in the cockfighting ring bust near 6th Avenue and Buckeye.

Police said Lopez, who is an undocumented immigrant, might have been involved in human smuggling and drugs, as well.

Lopez was a crossing guard at Lowell Elementary School near 3rd Avenue and Buckeye from 1998 to early January of this year.

School district officials tell ABC15 they do background checks on all employees.
They are currently investigating his hiring records and were unable to comment as to whether he may have had a valid visa at the time of hiring or whether his illegal immigration status may have slipped through the cracks.

Police said in September of 2010 Lopez shot and killed the man in his pickup.

Seven months later, a witness came forward identifying Lopez as the possible shooter, but he was not arrested.
Police said they didn't have enough information to substantiate the charges until after they nabbed him in the cockfighting ring on Saturday.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said they were always aware of his whereabouts including his employment at the school, but they did not notify the district that he was on their radar.

"We can't go around slandering people," Crump said. Crump said divulging that information may have compromised their investigation and they believe that the crime was separate from his employment that there was no reason to think children would be at risk.

Lopez was one of 40 people arrested in that bust on Saturday. About half are undocumented.

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