Babylon Village's Arthur Lopez, an eight-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, was remembered as a hero Tuesday evening by police officials and local politicians.
"He's a true hero, a very decorated police officer of eight years, and he lost his life to a cold-blooded murderer today," Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.
Lopez, 29, was shot and killed by a suspect on 241st Street near Jamaica Avenue in Bellerose Terrace Tuesday morning after pursuing the aforementioned suspect off of the Cross Island Parkway.
"It's terrible, a terrible situation," Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said. "I knew [Lopez] made visits to the highway department and two gentlemen there knew him as a quiet, nice guy. Just such a terrible thing."
The alleged gunman, 33-year-old Darrell Fuller, was arrested in Jamaica Tuesday evening with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is currently in police custody at Jamaica Hospital.
Along with being a member of Nassau's finest, Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said Lopez was also a volunteer fireman with the Dix Hills Fire Department and an EMT.
Prior to being assigned to Emergency Services in January 2010, Dale said Lopez started his career as a patrol officer with Nassau's First Precinct.
Since day one, Lopez had excelled on the job. The Daily News reported:
During his eight years on the job, the officer earned six meritorious service awards, three excellent police duty awards and several other command recognitions.
Nassau Police Benevolent Association President Jim Carver said the loss of Lopez was particularly tough given the timing of the incident.
"To say that this is a difficult time would be an understatement. We're still reeling from the loss of our brother five days ago," said Carver, referring to Nassau Highway Patrolman Joseph P. Olivieri who was struck and killed on Long Island Expressway while on duty Thursday morning.
"He was a young man — 29 years old, just short of his 30th birthday — full of life, full of energy," Carver said of Lopez. "[He was] a great cop, a great friend."
Lopez is survived by his father Alfonso, mother Mirella and sister Charo.
County Executive Mangano has ordered that flags on county government buildings will be flown at half-staff effective Nov. 19 through Dec. 19 in honor of Officer Lopez.