80-year-old grandfather dies weeks after violent robbery in California grocery store, family says

National

Roberto Flores Lopez is seen in an undated photo shared by his family.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) – An 80-year-old California man who was hospitalized after being beaten and robbed at a grocery store last month has died, his grieving family said Wednesday as they called for justice in the case.

Roberto Flores Lopez’s death was a “result of severe injuries” that he suffered in the violent attack, which took place in the restroom of a Superior market on the morning of July 8, according a somber statement from relatives.

Lopez had been beaten and repeatedly kicked, even after handing over his wallet to the assailant, family members said. He was alone, bleeding on the floor, when someone else entered the restroom and found him.

The victim had suffered multiple broken ribs and facial injuries and was treated in the intensive care unit of Antelope Valley Hospital. He spent two weeks there before being released, according to the last update on a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to help cover his medical costs.

Lopez was taken back to the hospital, where he died around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

He is survived by his wife, three children, 16 grandchildren and one great-grandson, according to his family. A fourth child — a son — died Tuesday of COVID-19, according to relatives.

“My mom is struggling with a death of her son, our brother. We just made arrangements for my brother to be buried next Tuesday. And now we’re going to go back and make arrangements for my father,” Cecilia Ramirez, the victim’s daughter, said at a news conference.

The suspect, 22-year-old Damaris Wade, was charged with attempted murder, elder abuse and second-degree robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office had announced on July 15.

Damaris Wade is seen in a photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Damaris Wade is seen in a photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Wade also faces a special circumstance allegation of causing great bodily injury to a victim over the age of 70, along with a sentencing enhancement for a previous burglary conviction in 2016, according to the DA’s office.

His girlfriend initially faced a count of acting as an accessory after the fact but prosecutors dropped the charge, saying the 33-year-old woman wasn’t at the scene of the assault.

At the mid-afternoon news conference, family members called for new, upgraded charges in the case in the wake of their loved one’s death.

“This case went from just a robbery and an assault to murder. … We want this whole entire thing, for the guy that did this to my dad — for him to get it for manslaughter, and to get charges for manslaughter and murder, because my dad’s dead. He killed my dad,” the victim’s son Fransisco said, breaking down in tears.

Miguel S. Coronado, a spokesman for the family who is an educator and civil rights activist in the Antelope Valley, also said prosecution to the fullest extent of the law was necessary to send a message that violent acts like the one that claimed Lopez’s life are not tolerable.

As he spoke, Coronado held up a photo of the victim taken in the aftermath of the attack, his face bloodied and bruised, the hospital gown soaked with blood.

“We condemn this violence,” Coronado said at the news conference. “This will not be tolerated. We’re angry. We’re hurt. We’re upset. And we’re calling on anybody that is doing this against our people, or any people for that matter, that you will be caught. And you’ll be prosecuted. And we will support the LAPD, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to make sure that you are brought to justice, if you are hurting any human being and you leave them for dead.”

Coronado also thanked the community for coming together and rallying around Lopez, noting the outpouring of support he and the family received through the GoFundMe account. The campaign is still active and donations would go toward paying funeral costs as well as Lopez’s heartbroken widow, Amelia.

The fundraising page has received more than $60,000 in donations since it was created July 9.

Family members gathered at a news conference hours to call for justice after the death of Roberto Flores Lopez on Aug. 19, 2020. (KTLA)
Family members gathered at a news conference hours to call for justice after the death of Roberto Flores Lopez on Aug. 19, 2020. (KTLA)

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