Police ID suspected shooter of Officer Lopez Jr.

Posted at 7:32 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 21:32:39-05

A man accused of shooting a Denver police officer during a routine traffic stop on Tuesday has been identified by the police department. 

Investigators believe Jason Wood, 36, shot Officer Tony Lopez Jr. moments after he was pulled over near the area of 38th and Federal Boulevard. 

Denver police still won’t say how many shots were fired during the shootout.  Radio traffic indicates the suspect fired shots almost immediately after being pulled over. Police still don’t know what prompted Lopez to pull over the driver.

Denver7 reporter Jaclyn Allen spoke to Wood's grandfather, who said he was not surprised about the accusations.

"Yeah, I think he done it [sic]. He was capable of doing it," said the grandfather, who did not want to be identified.

-- Indications of ambush --

Police said it appears the gunman opened fire moments after  Lopez pulled over the man's vehicle during a traffic stop at Federal Boulevard and Clyde Place.

"[The gunman] almost immediately after the stop, came out of his car, based on what witnesses are saying, firing at the officer," Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier said at a Wednesday news conference.

Saunier said indications that the officer was ambushed are "based on the fact" that moments after the officer radioed that he was making the traffic stop "almost immediately the officer (was) already calling out that he was shot."

Investigators believe that Lopez returned fire, hitting the gunman in the leg.

At some point, the officer radios that a female suspect had fled from the vehicle during the shootout.

"We believe the gun that he was using during this shooting was a handgun. Like I said [the gunman] -- he fired multiple times," Saunier said. "We did recover additional weapons out of the vehicle that he abandoned and additional ammunition."

-- A long criminal history -- 

Wood is currently in police custody at Denver Health Medical Center on an investigative hold for attempted murder of a peace officer and for robbery, according to court and jail records.

Denver7's review of court and arrest records found the suspect has a violent criminal history: 

September 1997 -- He's arrested by Northglenn police for homicide, aggravated assault with a gun. The investigation must have been dropped because there's no court record of him being charged.

November 1997 -- He's again arrested in Northglenn for residential burglary and felony theft. He pleads guilty to the lesser charge of criminal trespass and is sentenced to 18 months in the Department of Corrections.

September 1998 -- He's arrested in Lafayette for felony assault and felony menacing with a deadly weapon. In January 1999, he pleads guilty to the lesser offense of misdemeanor assault and is sentenced 90 days in jail.

May 1999 -- He's accused of escaping from a felony conviction in Adams County. He pleads guilty to attempted escape and is sentenced to 1 year in the Department of Corrections.

November 1999 -- He's arrested in Northglenn for carrying a concealed weapon and reporting false identification information to authorities. He pleads guilty to perjury and is sentenced to six months in jail.

October 2001 -- He's arrested in Denver for parole violation and returned to the Department of Corrections in April 2002.

March 2002 -- He's arrested in Denver for obstructing police, resisting arrest, carrying a concealed weapon and driving with license under restraint. He pleads no contest -- which legally carries the same weight as a guilty plea -- and is sentenced to 30 days in jail.

March 2002 -- He's arrested by Commerce City police for kidnapping and felony menacing. He pleads guilty to menacing in March 2003 and is sentenced to 15 months in the Department of Corrections.

June 2011 -- He's arrested in Westminster for weapon possession by a previous offender and weapon offense/reckless with gun. He pleads guilty to the lesser offense of misdemeanor illegal weapon possession and is sentenced to one year of probation.

Sept. 30, 2015 – Home-invasion robbery in Denver. The suspect faces an aggravated robbery in that case.

Dec. 8, 2015 – Officer Tony Lopez Jr. is repeatedly shot during a traffic stop on Federal Boulevard. Police say after he shot the officer, the  suspect fled and carjacked a vehicle at a nearby bank. He was arrested after a brief police chase at 20th and Chestnut.


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