DA: After cops killed son, mother uses $5 million settlement to supply guns for teen gang

FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) — Fourteen people, including two young teenagers, have now been charged following an investigation into the murder of a Malaga, Calif. man.

Christina Lopez, 42, of Madera, Calif. is one of the 14 people arrested in the death of Javier Fernandez.

She’s facing felony charges of conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang, child endangerment, and conspiracy to provide a firearm to a gang member.

But it’s how prosecutors say she funded the crime that has many outraged.

We have mothers who have money who are buying guns and supplying them to their children for criminal activity,” said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.

Smittcamp says Lopez bought guns, used in the killing, with money from a multi-million dollar settlement after Fresno police killed her son.

Back in 2017, Lopez’s 16-year-old son Isiah Murrieta-Golding was shot and killed by Fresno Police. The shooting happened during a chase, as he was wanted for killing a man.

Michael Haddad, Lopez’s attorney after her son’s death, says the City of Fresno had to pay out $4.9 million this past August to settle the case related to Isiah’s death.

During a news conference Friday, prosecutors said Lopez used money that she received from the city to help fund this crime.

She has been providing guns through a financial means that she has, to minor children that are 14, 15, and 16 years old,” said DA Smittcamp, “As a mother and a prosecutor and a citizen of this county for my entire life, this is some of the most despicable behavior I’ve ever seen from a human being.

Smittcamp adds Lopez now faces approximately 10 years in state prison.

“And she has continued now to take the money from her settlement that she received from the City of Fresno to buy and purchase a home where she lives, in addition to spending thousands of dollars on guns that she then, in turn, has given to her 14-year-old son,” said DA Smittcamp, “And I didn’t misspeak, 14-year-old son, who is distributing them, sharing them and selling them with other gang members in the community.”

That 14-year-old is also facing felony charges for gun possession, conspiracy to commit crimes, and street gang enhancements.

This is why I say the behavior of this woman is some of the most egregious criminality that I have ever seen,” said DA Smittcamp, “And as a mom and as a prosecutor it is just horrendous to me that she could do this.

The lawyer who represented Lopez during the settlement case says some of that money went to Isiah’s father.

He adds, “I think she’s a good mom and I can’t see her doing something like this.”

Now, the city may be looking to get some of that settlement money back.

Smittcamp says the settlement was lawfully given to Lopez, but she said her office would need to do some research to see if there’s a way to seize any of that money.

Up until last month, law enforcement only had still photos from a surveillance video. Looking for answers, the Sheriff’s office posted the still shot asking the public for help.

Since then, the investigation has moved along quite a bit, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said it’s largely due to two solid tips that came into Valley Crime Stoppers.