News Releases

April 12, 2023: 2 Whittier Police Detectives Charged With Assault for 2020 On-Duty Shooting That Left Unarmed Man Paralyzed

Media Relations Division

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that two Whittier police detectives have been charged for their roles in the April 2020 daytime shooting that left Nicholas Carrillo paralyzed.

“The decision by these two detectives to use deadly force on someone who was unarmed and fleeing is inexcusable,” District Attorney Gascón said. “Police are afforded great power and with that power comes great responsibility. Human life is precious and you should never use lethal force unless it’s necessary in defense of human life. Thankfully, Mr. Carrillo survived but his life is forever changed as a result of the actions of these officers.”

Cynthia Lopez (dob 11/25/88) was charged in case BA513928 with two felony counts of assault under the color of authority and one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting at an occupied vehicle.

Salvador Murillo (dob 10/18/81) was charged in the same case with two felony counts each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm causing great bodily injury and assault under the color of authority causing great bodily injury.

Arraignment will be scheduled for a later date.

On April 30, 2020, the two defendants were on duty and working in plain clothes when they spotted a vehicle that may have been used in a March 20, 2023 Estes robbery by a female at a Walmart. The vehicle was pulled over in an alley. Carrillo was driving the vehicle and was the sole occupant. He then allegedly reversed and bumped the front of the defendants’ vehicle before exiting the vehicle and fleeing.

Lopez allegedly fired into the rear windshield while Carrillo was seated in the driver’s seat and then fired two more shots at Carrillo, missing him as he ran away.

Murillo and Lopez gave chase and as Carrillo climbed over a six-foot fence, Murillo allegedly fired more shots, striking Carrillo twice in the back. One shot severed his spine and immediately rendered him paralyzed from the waist down. He was unarmed and no weapon was recovered inside the vehicle.

The defendants are no longer on the force.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Whittier Police Department.