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"Bad Luck Lopez" -- and Durham's rep -- gets a bad break

Fortune favors the bold, the Roman aphorism tells us. But fortune has not been with Durham P.D. Chief Jose Lopez, who's had a ridiculously long streak of bad-luck, bad-timing events since his arrival in the Bull City.

Not that it's tied in any way to his crime-fighting prowess; crime has continued its steady decline in the Bull City, something in fairness that owes as much to the work of predecessors and to a national trend in this area as it does Lopez's work per se. 

(Of course, there remains a noteworthy and worrisome uptick in shootings and homicides this year to date, something that is a very real cause for concern -- and the fallout from last fall's D.P.D. overtime scandal, after which Lopez's leadership is likely getting as much scrutiny as it's ever enjoyed.)

Still, Lopez seems to have the knack for being in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. And that losing streak got a bit worse yesterday.

But let's start with the rundown first.

First up: Lopez getting caught up in what sounded like an entirely accidental coincidence, attending a social event at the house of a couple with ties to the county Democratic Party, and later accused of imprisonment and sexual assault in a case with Satanic overtones, though the sensational charges were later reduced to misdemeanor.

Batting second: Lopez's prized El Camino got broken into and its stereo stolen while the vehicle was in a mechanic's shop last year for maintenance. A nicely-paced John McCann piece in the Herald-Sun earlier this year told the tale of woe, which of course carried with it the guffaw of the Durham police chief getting his own car busted into.

But a car radio heist pales to yesterday's news, in which Lopez's car got caught in the crossfire of two vehicles' occupants shooting at each other on Roxboro St. downtown near the jail.

Lopez was driving near the jail when the gunfire broke out. His car was struck in the windshield.

The initial reports from WRAL and the Indy suggested Lopez might have just been caught up in the crossfire, though the Herald-Sun's report suggests that one of the vehicles noticed Lopez in his unmarked police car and fired at him as the driver; it's unclear whether, in such an event, they were aware he was the chief.

Of course, it's easy to make light of a situation when no one's hurt, and we at BCR are thankful no harm came to the chief.

And, of course, that it was a police car and not Lopez's El Camino that took the scrape in this particular case; his personal car's been through enough.

And of course, it doesn't really do much good for our dear Bull City to have the chief of police, of all people, caught up in such.

Still, you've got to wonder: just what the heck kind of bad luck has befallen our poor chief?

I think I'd be peeking inside a few City Hall desk drawers for some kind of voodoo doll at this point. 

I mean, it's only a streak of tough-luck events until you figure out who's got the pins sticking out of your simulacrum.

Until we figure it out: our fair chief is "Bad Luck Lopez" for now.



Oftentimes I read the comments on the WRAL Durham crime stories for a good laugh, but even I couldn't bring myself to click on that link for this story.

Erik Landfried

Obviously, it's bad luck that Chief Lopez was part of a shootout. But my guess is he's feeling pretty lucky right now that he was not killed or injured.

Todd Patton

I would say that the Chief had 2 bits of good luck - he came away without a scratch, and he wasn't driving his own car... but Chief, how could you let the bad guys get away??


Steve Graff

Comments over at WRAL are pretty pathetic. I'm glad to hear that Chief Lopez is OK, and also very angry that thugs would decide to settle their differences with gunfire - it doesn't matter when or where, it's just screwed up. Also angry to hear that one of those, um, individuals would aim and shoot at the chief.

I have a feeling that the full force of the DPD is being brought to bear to find every one of the culprits in this shooting.


That's horrible. Hope they get caught and glad he's okay! I swear, if they do, the suspects will prob be from somewhere like Zebulon...Always happens that way but you still have the snobby folks from their perfect towns that say "My neighbor told me that while in Durham, he got abducted by aliens and got anal probed for 2 hours...I will never step into Durham again after they told me that".


By the way, what's a Puerto Rican gotta do to get some good luck??!!! I need to know myself for poker night tonight!!!

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