Ex-Whittier detectives plead not guilty in 2020 shooting that paralyzed man

LOS ANGELES — Two former Whittier police detectives pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from an on-duty shooting in 2020 that left a man paralyzed.

Salvador Murillo, 41, and Cynthia Lopez, 34, are charged in connection with the April 30, 2020, shooting of Nicholas Carrillo, who was spotted in a vehicle that may have been used in a robbery by a female at a Walmart weeks earlier, according to a statement that was released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office last month after the two were charged.

Carrillo allegedly backed up the vehicle and bumped the undercover officers’ vehicle, with Lopez allegedly firing into the vehicle’s back window while Carrillo was still in the driver’s seat and then firing two more shots at Carrillo and missing him as he ran away, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The two detectives allegedly gave chase with Murillo allegedly firing additional shots as the man climbed over a 6-foot fence, striking him twice in the back, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which noted that one shot severed Carrillo’s spine and immediately left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Carrillo was unarmed, and no weapons were found inside the vehicle, according to the D.A.’s Office.

Murillo is charged with two felony counts each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm causing great bodily injury and assault under color of authority causing great bodily injury, while Lopez is charged with two felony counts of assault under color of authority and one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting at an occupied vehicle.

Lopez and Murillo are no longer with the Whittier Police Department.

A date is scheduled to be set July 24 for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to allow the case against the two to proceed to trial.

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