weather icon Clear

Suspect in east Las Vegas shooting had prior charges in 2019

Updated September 25, 2019 - 7:39 pm

Mario Frieson, an 18-year-old involved in four criminal cases since February, was released from jail 10 days before authorities say he shot and killed a recent high school graduate this month, court records show.

Las Vegas police arrested Frieson on Tuesday in the death of Brian Lopez, 18, who was shot Sept. 16, the Metropolitan Police Department said. Lopez was pronounced dead at University Medical Center on Sept. 18 from a gunshot wound to the head, and his death was ruled a homicide, the Clark County coroner’s office said.

Police arrested Frieson at a home on the 6900 block of East Lake Mead Boulevard, near Los Feliz Street, police said Wednesday. He is charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon, court records show.

Lopez was shot at an apartment complex on the 5300 block of East Lake Mead Boulevard, about 2 miles west of where Frieson was arrested.

Frieson was arrested multiple times this year in connection with four criminal cases involving drug charges, resisting arrest and being a prohibited person with a gun, online Las Vegas Justice Court records show.

Homicide detectives believe Lopez was shot during a failed robbery attempt, in which two men probably were looking for drugs, Metro has said. Witnesses told police they saw the victim arguing with two men outside his apartment before hearing a gunshot.

Online court records Wednesday do not indicate that Frieson has a co-defendant in the case, and it was unclear Wednesday if police had identified another suspect.

Frieson was arrested in February and in April pleaded no contest to possessing drugs not for interstate commerce and resisting a public officer, both misdemeanors.

In June he pleaded guilty to a separate misdemeanor charge of resisting a public officer. Also in June he was charged with a felony count of drug possession, court records show.

In August he was arrested again on suspicion of a felony count of possessing drugs, but the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute on Sept. 19, three days after Lopez was shot, court records show.

Ten days before Lopez was shot, Frieson was released from custody in the June felony drug possession charge. A condition of his release was “intensive supervision,” court records show.

Frieson was ordered to return for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 17, the day after Lopez was shot, but on that day the hearing date was changed to Jan. 27.

Organ donation OK’d

During an interview with the Review-Journal on Wednesday, Lopez’s sister described the 18-year-old as a goofy guy who loved his family, especially spending time with his 11 nieces and nephews.

He loved soccer, dreamed of becoming an aviation mechanic and wanted to buy his mom a house to “get her out of the neighborhood that she lives in,” said his sister, 27-year-old Tanya Lopez.

Brian Lopez, who was one of eight living siblings, graduated from Desert Rose High School in June, Tanya Lopez said.

She said in the days after her brother was shot, family members clung onto hope for a miracle that he would pull through, especially their mother, Patricia Lopez.

“Up until the end she was fine,” Tanya Lopez said. “When we found out he wasn’t going to come back, and it was time to go, that’s when she lost it.”

The 18-year-old was pronounced brain dead on Sept. 18, but the family spent three days saying goodbye after deciding to donate his organs. He was taken off life support, and his organs were donated Saturday.

Tanya Lopez said her brother was known for helping others, especially homeless people he saw around town. She said her family knew he would have wanted to donate his organs, especially after their 14-year-old brother died during heart surgery in 2008.

“When our brother died, we wish we would have had an organ donor,” Tanya Lopez said. “My mom is OK knowing that someone else in her position is going to be receiving the chance of life, so that helps her.”

The 27-year-old said none of Brian Lopez’s friends recognize Frieson, and she didn’t know her brother to have enemies. She said her youngest sister was in their home when her brother was shot, and the 17-year-old then saw a person who did not match Frieson’s description.

Tanya Lopez set up a GoFundMe for her family to pay for the funeral expenses. The family is also holding a bake sale Friday at Patricia Lopez’s home, 5370 E. Lake Mead Blvd., to help pay for the funeral, she said.

Frieson remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday without bail, jail records show. He is due in court Thursday in the murder case.

Lopez’s death marked the 76th of 77 homicides investigated by Metro this year, according to records maintained by the Review-Journal.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_nebwerg on Twitter. 

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.