$50,000 reward offered in the murder of a Sherman Oaks restaurant cook

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Raul Lopez's daughter, Celeste, 6, holds up a family photo at a news conference announcing the $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect who shot and killed Lopez.

The family of Raul Lopez, a man killed last month while at work at a Sherman Oaks eatery, pleads with the public to come forth with any information that could help police track down Lopez’s killer. A $50,000 reward has been offered by the city.

Lopez, 38, was working as a cook for the Hoagies & Wings restaurant on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. On June 29 around 11 p.m., police say a group of five men at the restaurant began to argue about how long the food was taking. After a while, Lopez tried to escort the rowdy group out. Once the group stepped outside the restaurant, police say one man pointed a gun a Lopez and fired one shot to his chest killing him.

“Don’t be afraid to call and say who it was because it could happen to anyone if they’re out there,” said the victim’s oldest son, 16-year-old Melesio Lopez.

Raul Lopez was a father of five children, three daughters and two sons ages two, four, six, seven, and 16. Lopez worked two restaurant jobs as the family’s breadwinner. The widow, Guadalupe Gomez said her husband was a good, responsible father who worked hard for his family. Now an uncle and a cousin help provide for the family who struggles to pay rent and groceries.

“It’s been really tough because we lost our dad and we can’t replace him because he’s the only one,” Melesio Lopez said.

Hoagies & Wings has set up a donation fund for the Lopez family. Ten percent of online sales in July will also go to the family. The CEO, Akida Mashaka, released this statement:

On behalf of the Hoagies & Wings family, I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers regarding the Raul Lopez tragedy. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from customers, members of the community and people across the country.

Mashaka wrote that a Van Nuys resident donated $1,000. The owner of an online children’s clothing store donated $3,000 worth of clothes and toys to the family.

LAPD homicide detectives say the group of five men, in their 20s and 30s, are considered persons of interest. They fled the scene in a black Cadillac Escalade.

The group did stop at a Panda Express before entering the Hoagies & Wings. Although witnesses have given descriptions of what the suspect looked like, detectives say they need someone who might know the men to come forward.

“We don’t have any physical evidence that traces back to them such as a license plate, a fingerprint, DNA. We’ve kind of reached a standstill,” said detective James Nuttal.

Checks should be made payable to Guadalupe Gomez and can be mailed or dropped off at Hoagies & Wings, Attn: Guadalupe Gomez, 14552 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. To donate clothing, or for further information, email the restaurant at info@hoagiesandwings.com, or visit Hoagies & Wings' Facebook page.

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