Authorities say mother used money from $5M settlement in police killing of son to buy guns for gangs
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Authorities say that a California mother used money from a $5 million settlement from a police killing to buy weapons for gangs. 

Christina Lopez of Madera, Calif., was one of 14 people charged on Friday in connection with a killing that occurred on July 9, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

In a statement, the agency said Lopez faces felony charges of conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang, child endangerment and conspiracy to provide a firearm to a gang member.

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Lopez and her husband were awarded a $4.9 million settlement in April after a police officer fatally shot one of her sons in 2017. The son was shot in the back of the head as he and his brother were running away from a sergeant, according to The Associated Press.

In a news conference on Friday, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said that Lopez spent “thousands of dollars on guns that she then in turn has given to her 14-year-old son.”

“And I didn’t misspeak — 14-year-old son, who is distributing them, sharing them and selling them with other gang members in the community," she added

The 14-year-old son was one of the suspects charged in connection with the killing, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told reporters. He is facing felony charges of gun possession, conspiracy to commit crimes and enhanced charges for street gangs.

Smittcamp said that Lopez is facing 22 total charges and is looking at a 10-year prison sentence. She said her office would have to do research to see if there was any way to seize the rest of the settlement money.  

“The behavior of this woman is some of the most egregious criminality that I have ever seen,” Smittcamp said. “And as a mom and as a prosecutor it is just horrendous to me that she could do this." 

The charges stem from the fatal shooting of 52-year-old Javier Fernandez, who was shot near his home. The suspect, 18-year-old Richard Aguilar, was arrested on Oct. 7 and booked into the Fresno County Jail for murder, authorities said.