LAUGHLIN — The man who was killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police SWAT team members after attempting to rob two Laughlin casinos Monday has been identified as 69-year-old Michael Todd Lopez, a Lake Havasu City man with a lengthy criminal record that included two previous convictions for attempts to rob Nevada casinos.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office in Las Vegas released Lopez’s identity Thursday while Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly provided a media briefing on the incident that unfolded over seven hours, starting in the early hours Monday and ending when SWAT members Cory Mikkelson and John Susich fired lethal shots after Lopez charged at them with a 9mm pistol in his hand.
According to previous reports, Kelly’s statements Monday and surveillance video, Lopez first attempted to rob the Golden Nugget Laughlin around 12:49 a.m. He reportedly was carrying a handgun inside an magazine, pulled the gun and set it on the counter outside the cashier’s cage, demanding money. The cashier refused.
Lopez left the Golden Nugget and, according to Kelly, repeated the routine at the Aquarius Casino Resort after driving down the street to the nearby property. He walked in around 1:23 a.m., produced his gun at the cashier’s window and demanded money. Again, he was refused.
LVMPD Capt. Nichole Splinter, in an earlier briefing, said that Lopez apparently became nervous after spotting an Aquarius security guard and left the building, returning toward his car. In the parking lot, he reportedly fired a shot at a security guard — no one was injured — before getting in his vehicle.
Metro officers, aware of the ongoing situation, arrived on the scene almost immediately with Lopez refusing to exit his vehicle.
Metro’s SWAT team arrived and took control of the scene and continued trying to coax Lopez out of his vehicle to end the standoff. He continued to refuse.
Metro vehicles were placed in front of and behind Lopez’s vehicle so he could not leave. He still refused commands to surrender.
Susich tried talking to Lopez — on a video shown Thursday during Kelly’s briefing in Las Vegas, he is heard imploring Lopez to give up.
“Think about the consequences of your actions right now,” Susich is heard saying.
Lopez eventually exited the vehicle and on video he is shown raising his weapon into the air. He started to rush toward Susich and other officers; lowered the weapon and pointed it in their direction.
Mikkelson, armed with a rifle from an “elevated position on the parking garage,” according to Kelly, fired a single shot that struck Lopez. Susich also fired five rounds from his weapon, a 9mm pistol, also hitting Lopez.
Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to information from Metro, the incident began around 12:49 a.m. and ended at 7:29 a.m.
Casino Drive from the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino down to Bruce Woodbury Drive just past the Aquarius was blocked off and both casinos suffered a lull in business and visitors during that time. Adding to the day’s hardship for the Aquarius was the fact that for almost eight hours Lopez’s body lay in the parking lot while LVMPD completed its investigation, using drones and diagraming out the event in detail, a standard practice in any officer-involved shooting incidents.
Several casino patrons said they could see Lopez’s body in the parking lot until Metro Police turned it over to the coroner’s office.
Kelly said Lopez had a extensive criminal record that included convictions in Nevada and California for bank robbery, kidnapping, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, transporting stolen property and a variety of crimes committed with weapons.
The investigations into the attempted robbery and shooting are ongoing, Kelly said. Mikkelson and Susich have been placed on paid administrative leave, standard policy for Metro officers involved in a shooting incident.