Family Speaks Out On Tragic Death

Sunday, November 2nd 2008, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The family of a man, killed when a driver slammed his car into a Brookside crowd is speaking out. Carlos Lopez was one of two men killed. Family members say they still can't believe he's gone.

Police say Andrew Mathis rammed his car into a group of pedestrians after a fist fight.

Carlos Lopez was in the middle of the crowd with a first-aid kit trying to help out a complete stranger. His family says he was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It's a crime that left witnesses stunned. A Brookside bartender says it's appalling.

"This is the first I ever, since I've been in Tulsa for 22 years, I've never heard of someone getting run over in the back of a bar. It's insanity," said Brian Raska.

David Lopez says he can't believe his brother is gone forever.

"He led an exemplary life. He did things that I'll probably never be able to do," said David Lopez.

Police say Andrew Mathis knocked Dennis Cox unconscious in a parking lot fight. Carlos Lopez didn't know Cox. He didn't know Mathis. He just saw a man on the ground and wanted to help.

"It's just kind of weird that he went to help somebody out, and ended up having to lose his life doing it," said David Lopez.

The Tulsa native was used to helping out, it was part of his Army training. He served in Bosnia as a peacekeeper in the mid-90's. He also did a tour of duty in Iraq five years ago. He'd recently moved to Texas for a new job and to start a family.

"When he went to the Iraq war at the beginning, we had sat down and actually discussed the consequences of what could happen, but for something like this to happen, that didn't happen in Iraq, or Bosnia, or wherever he might have been, and then to come home on a business trip and try to help somebody out, and somebody decided to do something. Do something that he should have just gone home," said Lopez.

But cops say Mathis didn't go home and now Lopez's one year old daughter has lost her father.

"He came back as a hero, and unfortunately, he had to die as one, too," said Lopez.

David Lopez says his brother will always be his role model and his hero. He says people always talk about helping strangers change tires on the side of the road, but Carlos was the kind of guy who actually did it.

The Lopez family says funeral arrangements are still pending.

Related Story:

11/1/2008 - Two Killed, Five Injured In Brookside Auto-Ped