Roger López, after being arrested by the police in Murcia.Javi Carrión (Europa Press)
It's easy to predict the future when it's already happened. The fact is that, two weeks before killing a man in the precision shooting club of Canovelles (Barcelona), Roger López showed signs that he was a dangerous guy. The owner of the bar of the facilities reproached him for the habit of using the shooting galleries after hours, as he himself will tell the Mossos d'Esquadra in the investigation of the murder. Roger, 20 years old and highly impulsive, reacted aggressively. That day, however, he was not armed. An associate tried to calm him down and accompanied him to the table where his father, Gerard López, was. The man got up, paid for the drinks and came to his son's defense, insulting the bar owner. When he said he would notify the club of what happened, the father threatened: "If you make a complaint against us, you will have a personal problem and I will come for you."
Whether or not what happened in the bar weighed on Roger's mood on the afternoon of April 8, 2023 is something that the investigation has not been able to clarify. But what prosecutor Felix Martin is clear about is that the five shots with which he killed a club worker were not the result of an angry reaction or an uncontrollable outburst. The boy arrived at 18:30 p.m. at the club, of which he was a member, "in the context of a criminal plan that he had previously elaborated and for which he needed to have firearms in his possession," according to the imputation of facts to which EL PAÍS has accessed. Roger, who had a gun license, requested a semiautomatic pistol in the gallery and went to booth number 2, where he was shooting "in order to pretend his true purpose": to kill, not the owner of the bar, but the manager of the premises.
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Within minutes of starting practice, Roger asked to exchange the gun for two others: a Smith & Wesson revolver, with a 50-round ammunition box, and a Daewoo semi-automatic pistol, with 50 more rounds. Jorge A., the manager of the place and also a shooting instructor, did not know that he would end up being a victim of that small arsenal that he had just delivered to the young man. From the cabin, Roger "began to monitor the movements" of the instructor to "choose the moment and situation that would make his criminal endeavor easier," always according to the prosecutor. Jorge was doing cleaning and maintenance work at the time. At 19:25 p.m., while sweeping a cabin, Roger approached him and shot him five times in the back. He died within minutes.
"I've been killed, I've been shot"
Ivan A. was about to become the second fatality of that day. Just as Roger was committing the crime, he remembered that he had forgotten the glasses in the cabin and retrieved them again. In the shooting area he heard the faint voice of the instructor, who from the ground, face down and with his hands on his abdomen, stammered his last words: "I have been killed, I have been shot." Ivan saw how Roger "hastily left" the shooting area and, by pure instinct, decided to pursue him. The murderer stopped, took the semi-automatic pistol and pointed it at him. Shot. But the pistol had no ammunition in the chamber. Ivan stopped, slipped and fell to the ground – the entire sequence, including the crime, has been recorded by the club's surveillance cameras – and barricaded himself in the bathrooms until he learned that Roger had left to return to attend to the victim.
A Mossos patrol, in front of the Canovelles shooting club, in a file image. MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI
Roger passed by the same bar where two weeks earlier he had had the incident with his father, and left the club greeting the other members. Cameras show he walks fast, but doesn't run. Ready to flee, he planted himself in front of a BMW that was circulating at that time along the Paseo de l'Alzina. The old man who was driving him accompanied by his wife had to brake so as not to run him over. The boy tried to trick them, both later told police: "Run, run, squeeze, they want to kill me." But the woman did not see it clearly and, from the passenger seat, asked him to leave. Then, Roger held her at gunpoint and thus began the first of the kidnappings that he was going to perpetrate in the following hours to guarantee his escape.
Succession of kidnappings
Despite a gun pointed at the back of his wife's neck, the driver kept his composure. He "categorically" refused to leave the aggressor in Barcelona and took the C-17 to a gas station located in front of the Esclat supermarket in Granollers. He stopped the car and asked Roger to get off. He agreed. It was 19.27 p.m. Barely 12 minutes had passed since the shooting. But Roger was not willing to surrender. He saw that a woman was putting gas in his vehicle and accosted her. He lifted his sweatshirt slightly so he could see the gun and motioned for him to immediately get into the car, a black Fiat 500.
From the passenger seat, Roger instructed the woman on what to do and took her mobile phone to, among other things, look to see if news about the crime had already been published. He forced her to drive to Barcelona, made her stop in the vicinity of a washing tunnel next to the Ronda Litoral and then let her go. But almost immediately the third kidnapping began. He saw a Peugeot 308 leaving the car wash tunnel and "stealthily" approached it. He accosted the two occupants and forced them to take him much further. They stopped twice in a supermarket and as many times to refuel until, early in the morning of April 9, already in the center of Murcia, the girls convinced him to let them go. They drove to the neighboring town of Molina de Segura and, feeling safe there, called the police.
At 8.30, 14 hours after entering the Canovelles shooting gallery, police officers found him at the train station. Roger tried to remove the weapons they still had with them, but was reduced. The two times he has gone to court, first in Murcia and then in Granollers, he has tried to flee. Since then, he remains in pre-trial detention for a murder whose motive, for now (Roger has invoked his right not to testify) remains a mystery to everyone, perhaps also to himself.
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