Family Survives in the Face of Father’s Gun Attack

By Aishwarya Rajan

MERCED – One year and 34 charges later, a preliminary hearing for Guadaloupe Lopez-Herrera here in Merced County Superior Court last week showcased the escalation from threatening voicemails to stalking and then physical violence that led to Lopez-Herrera, allegedly, brandishing a firearm against his son, 17, daughter, 11, and wife.

It was a horrific sight, according to the mother of the two children, who testified about an attack by the father of the siblings who watched their father tarnish the memory of their home with violence, bullet casings and shattered glass.

“Dad, what you’re doing, it’s not right,” reportedly said the 11 year-old daughter into the face of her father’s hand gun. Defendant Lopez-Herrera broke into his family’s home in this rural town after losing custody of his children in early 2019.

Adding the sanctions of a restraining order, prosecutor Tracy Roland questioned the wife and victim of defendant Lopez-Herrera, in an effort to prove his guilt of domestic violence before Judge Carol Ashe.

Renting a single room in a three-bedroom, single-floor home, the victim said she was attacked in front of her children, and it was not the first time. Recounting the events between July of 2019 to September 2019, she highlighted the severity of the defendant’s threats against his family.

The victim was scared, but as a mother, it was not for her own safety, she said, noting that “he was threatening to kill me, but…but (also) the children and the people that live in the house.”

The threats and stalking began in July of 2019, each resulting in further police reports and restraining orders that were regularly violated, she said.

The threats consisted of tireless attempts to gain entry into his family’s rental home. From late night yelling and knocking at their door upwards of four times, to the five threatening voicemails, one of which was telling the victim that “he would come home and kill us…” if she did not answer.

The first physical encounter occurred on July 11 when the defendant hit his wife while driving in his white truck.

His alleged actions continued as he violated his children’s safety by disregarding his retaining order that was in place for stalking.

A second physical altercation ensued, leaving the victim and her family in shambles at their new rented space.

Earlier in her testimony, the victim reported that she did not believe he would carry through with any threat. Never did she expect the events of Sept. 1, 2019.

At 12:30 a.m., the victim was ready to go to sleep with her children by her side, when they heard a knock on the door. It was defendant Lopez-Herrera demanding he be let in, and, if not, he would enter with force.

“He moved towards the bedroom where we were, and that was when he broke the window…he had his shoulders inside and with the gun waving,” that was until he shot two bullets in the direction of his brave 11-year-old daughter, said the mother.

Leaving his wife physically and emotionally scarred, her husband bashed the victim’s head with the end of his gun, resulting in stitches in the back of her head, before watching her son shatter a mirror on his father.

Defendant Lopez-Herrera slipped away once more, leaving his family hopeful that it would be his final attack.

During the cross-examination of the victim, Lopez-Herrera’s attorney suggested he was the victim, and about the alleged victim, not a US citizen, he stated, “So about 16 years ago you knew that if you were a victim of violence that could allow you to get legal status here.”

The case continues.

Aishwarya Rajan is a first year Political Science Public Service major and Cognitive Science major at the University of California Davis. Her various experiences living in her hometown in Danville, California, have shaped her passions to deliver justice through a career in law.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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