A young 23-year-old father, Christopher “Cris” Lopez, was killed in Pasadena, California on Tuesday after someone purposefully pushed a 35-pound boulder from an 134 Freeway overpass while Christopher’s wife, Guadalupe “Lupe” Gutierrez, was driving under Orange Grove Boulevard. A GoFundMe has been set up for the victim’s family and officials are now trying to find the person who pushed the boulder onto the freeway. Here’s what you need to know about Christopher Lopez and the terrifying attack in California.
1. The Tragedy Happened at Orange Grove Blvd. & 134 in Pasadena, California
The tragedy happened Tuesday night just before 9 p.m., while the family was driving west under the Orange Grove Blvd. overpass that crosses 134 (Ventura Highway). You can see a map of the approximate location above. It appears this is just west of the 134/710 intersection in Pasadena. Guadalupe was driving when the boulder suddenly fell onto their car, shattering the windshield on Christopher’s side, where he sat in the passenger seat. According to a GoFundMe for the couple, Christopher’s jaw and chest were shattered by the boulder. Her mother and their four-year-old daughter were also in the car, but were not injured. Guadalupe immediately drove to Glendale Adventist Medical Center, the nearest hospital, but emergency personnel could not save him. He was pronounced dead less than 40 minutes after he was hit by the boulder.
2. Officials Believe the 35-Pound Boulder Was Purposefully Pushed Off the Overpass
Officials believe the 30- to 35-pound boulder was pushed intentionally, KTLA5 reported. During a press conference on Thursday, Lt. Chuck Geletko of the California Highway Patrol said the act had to be intentional. “Any prudent person would know that a boulder that size would seriously harm someone driving on the freeway below.” The CHP is asking the public for help finding the person responsible. If you witnessed anything suspicious around Orange Grove and 134, called CHP at 626-296-8100 or 323-259-3200 after hours. You can watch the press conference from Thursday above.
3. Christopher Lopez Was Married, Has a Young Daughter, and His Wife Is Pregnant
Christopher and Guadalupe were married and have a four-year-old daughter, Jayleen. Compounding the tragedy, Christopher and his wife just recently found out that she is pregnant. They had just decided to have a second child, and had just found out she was pregnant two weeks earlier. Guadalupe said during the press conference: “Now he’s gone. We’re asking for your help. If anybody saw anything, please help us find whoever did this to him. He didn’t deserve this. My daughter didn’t deserve this.”
4. A GoFundMe Page Is Set Up To Help the Family
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family and cover funeral expenses. You can donate to the page here. So afar, $13,433 has been raised of a $16,000 goal, as of the time of publication. Paola Freyre, a family friend, noted on the page after receiving so many donations so quickly: “I just want to say a huge thank you on behalf of Lupe and Cris’ parents. There are no words to describe what they’re feeling right now. As soon as we know something about a funeral date we will let everyone know. Once again thank you all so much.”
5. A Serial Rock-Thrower in Austin, Texas Was Convicted in 2017 After Leaving Two People Seriously Injured
In June 2016, Patrick Eugene Johnson, 59, from Austin, Texas was arrested for throwing rocks off I-35. Law enforcement officials worked a long time to locate him and he became known in the community as a “serial rock thrower” after not being caught for two years. He was well-known in the community for running Texas Towing Compliance, often contacting the media with story ideas or tips on traffic crashes. His business focused on fighting illegal towing. He was caught after throwing rocks at an Austin police officer’s car. In April 2017, he was convicted after pleading guilty to four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and agreeing to 40 concurrent years in prison, MySA reported. He attributed his actions to having HIV/AIDS that damaged his brain. Kenneth Johnson suffered brain damage in 2014 after he was hit while driving on I-35. Francisco Valdez Facio suffered severe eye injuries in 2016 after he was hit in the head.
But these aren’t the only cities where similar rock-throwing incidents have happened. In October 2017, Kenneth White, 27, was killed in Michigan after teens threw a rock through his windshield. And in July 2014, Sharon Budd was hit in the head in Pennsylvania after teens dropped a rock from an overpass. She lost an eye as a result. Tragically, her husband committed suicide in 2016, Daily Mail reported.