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Details emerge in Lopez case

BY CHELSEA BOULRISSE - cboulrisse@wabashplaindealer.com

NORTH MANCHESTER — More details were released on Tuesday morning regarding the arrest of Samuel Lopez, 28, who was arrested early Monday morning on charges that include attempted murder and robbery, according to the North Manchester Police Department (NMPD).

The department received a report around 12:45 a.m. Monday regarding a vehicle theft at Huck’s Gas Station. Lopez was taken into custody related to the incident and a string of reported assaults later that morning.

North Manchester Police Chief Jim Kirk explained that, according to NMPD’s investigation and witness statements, Lopez had reportedly flagged down two women at a McDonald’s and asked them for a ride. The women agreed despite not knowing Lopez and drove him to Huck’s Gas Station in North Manchester. When one of the women stepped out of the car, Kirk said Lopez reportedly took control of the car and drove off “at a high rate of speed” with the passenger, a 56-year-old woman. The other woman then called 911.

Within a minute of the car driving away, Kirk said Lopez reportedly stabbed the 56-year-old woman, who was then able to exit the vehicle as it was still moving. She was transported to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, where as of Tuesday afternoon she was confirmed to be in stable condition.

Lopez then reportedly drove the stolen vehicle to Strauss Feeds, according to the NMPD, where he was reportedly able to convince a truck driver to give him a ride. Kirk said that Lopez reportedly attempted to run the truck off the road by battering the driver with a wrench before fleeing the vehicle. Despite the battery, Kirk said the driver was OK and did not need medical attention.

Lopez then reportedly attempted to take over a third vehicle at another gas station, attacking the vehicle’s pregnant owner, Kirk said. It was at this time that NMPD Sgt. Nathaniel Birch was able to apprehend Lopez and take him into custody of the Wabash County Jail.

Lopez is preliminary charged with attempted murder, criminal confinement, robbery, battery on a pregnant woman, battery with a deadly weapon, resisting law enforcement, battery and operating a vehicle while never licensed.

None of the victims in this case have any known connection to Lopez, according to Kirk.