A study conducted by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) found that intimate partners killed more than half of all female murder victims. Black women were found to die at a partner’s hands more often than women of any other race; approximately 4.4 out of every 100,000 Black women are killed by their partners.
Dr. Tamara O’Neal broke off her engagement with Juan Lopez in September. On Monday, he killed her.
Lopez wanted his engagement ring back and got into an argument with O’Neal, a 38-year-old emergency room physician, in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
She called 911 for help, but before they could arrive, Lopez pulled out a gun and shot her. He then stood over her and fired again.
“She broke off the engagement; he couldn’t get over it,” O’Neal’s father, Thomas, told The Chicago Tribune.
“This was a total surprise to us. We knew that there was a disconnect there, but nothing to this magnitude. We never expected this.”
Lopez had a history of domestic violence. A judge granted his ex-wife a restraining order against him in 2014. Before he was kicked out of the Chicago Fire Department Academy, he had been put on notice for being aggressive with women.
Lopez’s abuse of women ultimately resulted in the deaths of two others.
After Lopez killed O’Neal on Monday, he ran into the hospital and exchanged gunfire with police. Dayna Less, a 24-year-old pharmacy resident exiting an elevator, was fatally shot. Rookie Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez, who arrived on the scene, was also shot in the gunfire exchange. He later died from his injuries.
Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday afternoon that Lopez “died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, but also sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” according to WLS-TV.
“The death of shooter Juan Lopez, 32, was ruled a homicide as he was killed by a police bullet.”
O’Neal was described by colleagues as “a sweetheart” who “had a heart of gold.”
“You would think being a new graduate, she would be kind of shy and timid around [people] with many, many years of experience,” Adele Cobbs, assistant director of the emergency department at Mercy Hospital said. “But she wanted us to know who she was immediately.”