SPRINGVILLE, Utah — A Utah man is accused of fatally shooting his mother at the dinner table days before Christmas, then dancing with his younger sister next to the woman’s lifeless body, according to police.
Mike Lopez, 23, of Springville, is charged with aggravated murder in the Dec. 23 death of 43-year-old Victoria Ramirez. He is also charged with domestic violence in the presence of a child and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.
Lopez is being held in the Utah County Jail, records show.
A probable cause affidavit obtained by multiple local news agencies paints a brutal portrait. According to the Deseret News, Lopez walked into the family’s dining room, where his mother sat with his two younger sisters, ages 14 and 17, as they prepared to eat dinner.
He carried a shotgun.
“All four were seated at the dining room table when (Lopez) pointed a shotgun directly at the victim,” the affidavit states. “Mike turned towards his 14-year-old sister and they gave each other a head nod.”
The girl ran and locked herself in a nearby bathroom, while their 17-year-old sister was left outside to witness what happened next. The older girl later told detectives she went to see if her sister was all right, not believing the shotgun was loaded, the Daily Herald in Provo reported.
Ramirez’s final words were chilling.
“I know you’re going to kill me, and I love you,” she told her son, according to the court documents.
The 17-year-old, hearing her mother’s words, turned to the table just as Lopez fired the shotgun, striking his mother in the neck, the Herald reported. She died almost instantly.
Court records indicate the 14-year-old exited the bathroom after the shooting and went to her mother, stroking the slain woman’s hair for a moment.
Lopez then grabbed the teen’s arm and the pair began dancing together next to their mother’s body, the News reported.
The 17-year-old ran into the bathroom and locked the door. She shimmied out of a window and ran away to call their adult sister at her home in Spanish Fork.
The adult sister called 911, the Herald reported.
“When police arrived, they discovered (Lopez) lying in a filled bathtub in a downstairs bathroom with the shotgun leaning against the tub,” the probable cause affidavit states. “(He) was arrested and eventually transported to the Utah County Jail.”
KUTV in Salt Lake City reported that Lopez appeared unresponsive when he was found but had no injuries. He was taken to a hospital, where doctors said he was faking the condition.
At the jail, he tested positive for THC, the main compound found in marijuana, the news station reported.
When told he was being charged with killing his mother, Lopez “nodded his head affirmatively and began to cry,” the affidavit states.
“Someone told me to do it,” he told officers.
According to KUTV, he likened the moment of the shooting to “déjà vu.”
Lopez’s 17-year-old sister told detectives her brother had been acting strangely in the days leading up to the killing.
“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 (was) talking about a lot of bad people,” the affidavit says, according to the News.
The teen said she believed Lopez, who bought the shotgun and a handgun the day before the shooting, had been providing the 14-year-old with marijuana, authorities wrote. She said she believed her younger sister knew he was going to kill their mother.
Investigators also interviewed the younger girl.
“The 14-year-old was acting very strange,” the affidavit states, according to KUTV. “She admitted she and Mike have been together a lot lately, and they take turns sleeping so they can watch over one another.”
The girl said she was with her brother when he bought the weapons at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Provo.
“When asked about her mother, she claimed it wasn’t her mother who was shot. When we asked who it was she stated it was someone else,” a detective wrote.
The girl, who showed no emotion during the interview, told investigators she was in the bathroom when the shotgun was fired.
“I asked her about dancing with Mike after he killed their mother. She looked at me and smiled, and stated she remembered dancing — and then she was trying to recite the song for me,” the affidavit states. “She denied any knowledge (that) Mike was going to shoot Victoria.”
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