The man accused of gunning down a Fresno, Calif., delivery driver for no reason had been released days earlier from a local hospital after being held for psychiatric observation.
Police had taken Joey Jesse Lopez into custody early Dec. 4 and ordered him detained for a mental-health evaluation, his parents said Thursday.
Much to their surprise, he was released later that day, they said.
Three days later, Joey Lopez was arrested on suspicion of killing Richard Hernandez. The 27-year-old Selma man was shot in the back early Monday as he delivered beer to a convenience store at Belmont and Palm avenues in central Fresno.
Joe and Theresa Lopez say the tragedy could have been avoided. Christopher Gonzalez
"My son is not a monster," Joe Lopez said. "He's mentally ill."
Laws that protect a person's medical history prevented Fresno Police Department officials from commenting on Lopez's psychiatric condition, or disclosing where he was held. Generally in such a situation, a patient is held at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell said confidentiality laws prohibited her from saying whether Lopez was held there.
Read the full story at Fresnobee.com.