SPRINGVILLE — Criminal charges have been filed against a Springville man who police say shot and killed his mother at the dinner table, then danced with his sister next to their mother’s body.
Mike Lopez, 23, is charged in Provo’s 4th District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, plus domestic violence in the presence of a child and possession of a weapon by a restricted person, both third-degree felonies. The case was transferred Monday to 4th District Court in American Fork.
An initial appearance for Lopez is scheduled for Jan. 12.
On Dec. 23, police say Lopez walked into the dining room where his mother, Victoria Ramirez, 43, was with his two sisters, ages 14 and 17.
“All four were seated at the dining room table when (Lopez) pointed a shotgun directly at the victim,” the charges state.
“Mike turned towards his 14-year-old sister and they gave each other a head nod,” according to a police affidavit. The 14-year-old then locked herself in an adjacent bathroom while the 17-year-old remained outside the door.
Ramirez told her son, “I know you’re going to kill me, and I love you,” before Lopez “fired a single shot, striking (Ramirez) in the neck and face, killing her almost instantly,” according to the charging documents.
The 14-year-old girl then exited the bathroom and stroked her mother’s hair before Lopez grabbed her arm and the two started dancing next to their slain mother, the charges state.
The 17-year-old then locked herself in the bathroom, climbed out the window and ran from the house to call another relative and police, according to the affidavit.
“When police arrived, they discovered (Lopez) lying in a filled bathtub in a downstairs bathroom with the shotgun leaning against the tub. (He) was arrested and eventually transported to the Utah County Jail,” the charges state.
While being booked into jail, an officer explained to Lopez that he was under arrest for shooting his mother, upon which Lopez “nodded his head affirmatively and began to cry. He subsequently told the officer, ‘Someone told me to do it,’” according to the charges.
Police say Lopez had THC in his system at the time of his arrest. The 17-year-old sister told police she believed Lopez was providing marijuana to her 14-year-old sister, and that the sister knew what was going to happen, the affidavit says.
“She stated Mike has been acting really strange lately where he has been meditating a lot where he claims to go to different dimensions and talking about a lot of bad people,” according to the affidavit.
The sister said Lopez purchased a shotgun and a handgun the day before he shot their mother, the affidavit states.
When police interviewed the 14-year-old girl, officers noted in the report that she “was acting very strange.” She told detectives that she and Lopez “have been together a lot lately and they take turns sleeping so they can watch over one another.”
The girl then claimed it was not her mother who was shot, then smiled when asked about dancing with her brother after the shooting, the affidavit states, adding that she began “to recite the song” and “did not show any emotion” during the police interview.