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Mother Arrested For Using Part Of Multi-Million Dollar Settlement With Police To Buy Guns For Gang

FRESNO (CBSLA/AP) — A woman who recently won a $4.9 million settlement for the police killing of her 16-year-old son has been arrested on suspicion of using some of the money to buy guns for her younger son and his fellow gang members, authorities announced Friday.

Christina Lopez Being Arrested (Fresno County Sheriff's Department)

Christina Lopez, 42, of Madera was among 14 people charged in a takedown of a Fresno-area gang allegedly involved in the shooting death of a man in July, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said. The arrests included teenagers as young as 13 and 14 years old.

Investigators determined a 47-year-old murder convict serving a life sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison ordered the hit on behalf of the gang, Mims said. The suspected gunman was arrested Thursday following a standoff with a sheriff's SWAT team.

Investigators also discovered that Lopez purchased guns for her 14-year-old son, who then shared or sold the weapons to other members of the gang, District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said.

She faces 22 felony counts 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.

"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 said.

"This family has been engaged in this type of behavior and continued to do this after the death of a son and having another son already in prison, she continued to encourage this type of behavior," the prosecutor added.

In April, Lopez and her husband won a $4.9 million settlement for the 2017 fatal shooting of her son Isiah Murrietta-Golding by a Fresno police sergeant. The teen, who along with his older brother Israel was wanted for questioning in a homicide, was running away from the sergeant when he was shot in the back of the head. He was not armed at the time.

Israel later plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was convicted as a juvenile, according to Michael Haddad, who filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Lopez's family.

Haddad said he hasn't spoken to Lopez since she was taken into custody. However, he said he doesn't believe the allegations.

"Having known her for years, she's a good mom and she would never do anything like what they're saying," Haddad said. "The charges really seems retaliatory to me, because she beat the Fresno Police Department in a major civil rights case for killing her son."

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