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Salt Lake man injured in police shooting has lengthy criminal history

Salt Lake City’s new hybrid Toyota Camry police car. Deseret News archives

SALT LAKE CITY — A man who was injured Thursday after police fired upon him has has a lengthy criminal history of theft, robbery and fleeing from police.

Romeo Jimmy Lopez Jr., 27, of Salt Lake City, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of assault on a police officer and two counts of failing to stop at the command of police.

In September, Lopez was charged with several crimes in Davis County for allegedly breaking into cars at fitness center parking lots, and then crashing into a car while fleeing from police, according to charging documents. After his arrest, Lopez was able to post bail.

Another arrest warrant was issued on Monday after he failed to show up for a court hearing, court records state.

About 10:30 a.m. Thursday, two officers from the State Bureau of Investigations spotted Lopez in the Rose Park area making what they said appeared to be a drug transaction. When the officers attempted to pull Lopez over, he fled in a Mercedes SUV, a police affidavit states. The officers did not chase after him.

About 3 p.m., the SUV was spotted again in the area near 700 N. Morton Drive (1900 West). The same two officers again attempted to stop the vehicle.

Lopez drove his vehicle at the officers, who then opened fire, according to the affidavit.

Police say Lopez continued to drive, going over a fence and through the yard of a nearby residence. About half a block later, he crashed into a FedEx truck, disabling his SUV, the affidavit states. Officers were able to arrest Lopez shortly after.

Lopez was treated at a local hospital and released just a couple of hours later. The Utah Department of Public Safety could not say Thursday whether Lopez suffered any gunshot wounds. The West Valley Officer-Involved Critical Incident Team is handling the investigation.

The arresting officers wrote in the affidavit that Lopez “has exhibited a propensity to put the community, law enforcement, and himself in harm’s way to elude law enforcement officers from apprehending him,” and noted that he has “several violent offenses in his criminal history.”