Ducey Orders Flags Fly at Half-Staff to Honor a Fallen Police Officer

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) ordered flags at half-staff Monday to honor the loss of White Mountain Apache Police Officer Adrian Lopez.

“This is a heartbreaking loss. Officer Adrian Lopez served with the White Mountain Apache Police Department for just five months when he lost his life in the line of duty,” Ducey said in a statement. “There is no greater act of selflessness than for one to lay down his life for another. Officer Lopez will be remembered as a selfless and brave protector. This is a sobering reminder of the danger our law enforcement officers face every day to keep others safe. Acts of violence and lawlessness against our law enforcement is unacceptable. In this time of mourning, our prayers are with Officer Lopez’s wife, child and loved ones as well as the White Mountain Apache Tribe.”

Ducey also tweeted out a response to the killing.

The Governor’s Office shared the press release on June 3rd, one day after Officer Lopez died in the line of duty.

According to a media release from the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, a suspect, 25-year-old Kevin Nashio of Whiteriver, AZ, shot and killed Officer Lopez around 7 p.m. last Thursday during a traffic stop. Nashio stole Officer Lopez’s patrol vehicle and fled from pursuing officers for 40 miles. The chase ended with a shootout in which Officer Lonnie Thompson was injured and officers killed Nashio. Thompson was flown to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment.

Office Lopez is a U.S. Army veteran and is survived by a wife and child.

ABC15 recorded a live update on the case from White Mountain Officials.

“This is a time of mourning for the White Mountain Apache Tribe,” Kasey Velasquez, tribal chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, said. “Our tribe has lost a beacon of light, a bullhorn against the darkness. But we have not lost hope, nor faith, in the future of our White Mountain Apache Tribe and in the rule of law.”

Brian Swanty, chief deputy for the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, spoke on behalf of the White Mountain Apache Police Department. He expressed gratitude to other local law enforcement agencies for responding and assisting during the incident. These agencies include San Carlos Apache Game Rangers, Pinetop-Lakeside Police Department, Apache County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Swante was unable to share the cause of the traffic stop, as it is part of the ongoing investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is conducting the primary investigation.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for the The Arizona Sun Times and Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Doug Ducey” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Officer Adrian Lopez, Sr.” by Officer Down Memorial Page. Background Photo “U.S. Flag at Half-Staff” by Scholie.


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