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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Mercy Hospital Gunman Juan Lopez Was Booted From Fire Academy For Being Aggressive Toward Women

The gunman had been training to be a firefighter EMT but lasted only about six months, an official said.

Juan Lopez (left) fatally shot three people at Mercy Hospital Monday.
Facebook / Mauricio Peña / Block Club Chicago
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BRONZEVILLE — A man who shot and killed his ex-fiancé, a Chicago police officer and a pharmaceutical resident at Mercy Hospital Monday had been booted from the Chicago Fire Academy over aggressive behavior toward women, a Fire Department spokesman said Tuesday. 

Lopez, who reportedly had a valid concealed carry license when he shot up the hospital Monday afternoon, had also threatened to “shoot this f—— place up,” referring to a Chicago Fire Department training facility nearly five years ago, the Chicago Tribune reported citing fire department sources.

Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, said he was unable to confirm nor categorically deny the threat, but confirmed Lopez was undergoing a disciplinary investigation after complaints he’d been aggressive toward women.

Lopez stopped showing up to work during the investigation, Langford said, so he was fired. He’d started training as a firefighter EMT since March 2014 and was let go about six months later.

Lopez, 32, fatally shot his ex-fiancé Tamara O’Neal after following her to work at Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., about 3 p.m. Monday, officials said.

O’Neal’s father told Block Club Tuesday that she had been trying to remain friends with Lopez since the break up, but was being urged by family to keep her distance. Her father was not aware of Lopez’s past violent episodes. 

Despite being booted from the fire academy, Lopez was able to get another city job at the Chicago Housing Authority. 

“This was an unthinkable act of violence,” CHA CEO Eugene Jones Jr. said in a statement. “We are filled with overwhelming sadness and our hearts go out to the families of those who died, and to all affected by this horrific tragedy.”

Another woman had complained about Lopez in the past and sought an order of protection against him in 2014, though it was unclear if it was granted, according to The Associated Press.

Lopez was an associate program specialist who worked at CHA headquarters in the Loop, according to the housing authority. He started with the agency in February 2018 and did undergo a background check. 

There were no records of complaints against him during his time at the CHA.  

Lopez was also a graduate student at DePaul University who was pursuing a master’s in public service, according to the DePaulia.

Lopez was shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with police at the hospital Monday afternoon. As of Tuesday morning, police did not say whether he shot himself or was killed by police. 

Aside from O’Neal, who was an emergency room doctor at Mercy, Lopez also fatally shot Chicago Police officer Samuel Jimenez, a father of three and a police officer since February 2017, and Dayna Less, a 24-year-old pharmaceutical resident and Cubs fan who lived in Ukrainian Village. Less was scheduled to get married next summer. 

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