Documents: Officer who shot teen had history of problems


by Christopher Heath / KENS 5

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Updated Monday, May 23 at 9:55 PM


SAN ANTONIO - On November 12, 2010, NISD Officer Daniel Alvarado witnessed 14-year-old Derek Lopez hit another student at a bus stop.

After pulling over, Lopez fled the scene and Alvarado radioed in. Minutes later, Lopez would be dead.

It is the time after Alvarado radioed in and when a single shot rang out on the city's west side that is now at the center of an investigation.

According to NISD documents, Officer Alvarado had been reprimanded seven times and suspended from the force three times in less than three years.

According to these records, on May 29, 2008, the NISD Police Department even considered terminating Officer Alvarado.

In the days after the shooting, the district released Officer Alvarado's account of the shooting.

Alvarado says he followed the teen to a neighborhood, pursuing the teen into a backyard. The officer claims the teen, who was a student at the Bexar County Juvenile Justice Academy, was hiding in a shed and burst out, slamming the shed door into his face.

That's when Alvarado fired a single shot, hitting the 14-year-old in the abdomen. Lopez would die at the scene.

In the months since the shooting, the family of Derek Lopez has hired an attorney to investigate their son's death and possibly pursue legal action.

One of the things released to the family's attorney by NISD is an audio recording of the dispatch call to Officer Alvarado.

In the call a police supervisor is heard telling Alvarado, "Yeah I copy, let's not do any big search over there. Let's go with the victim and see if we can identify him that way. We can put one in the area, but let's concentrate on getting one from the victim."

NISD has a six-part code of procedure for officers dealing with these types of situations.

According to the written procedure, officers are supposed to "take only action that is necessary to contain a situation until an officer of the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction arrives."

In this case, the agency with jurisdiction would have been SAPD; Alvarado did not wait.

Additional documents continue to contradict segments of the officer's recount of the day's events.

Officer Alvarado said that the 6 foot tall, 192 pound Lopez lunged at him, hitting him with the door of the shed. That's when he says he fired his weapon.

However, according to the teen's autopsy report filed by the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, the teen had "no evidence of close-range firing."

SAPD is investigating the shooting. That report is expected to be turned over the Bexar County District Attorney's Office. Currently, no criminal charges have been filed.

NISD did not wish to comment on this report, instead issuing this statement:

"While there were some documented incidents, it is important to note that they were administrative in nature and had nothing to do with student safety."