GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A former Greensboro officer is facing a manslaughter charge in connection to a deadly shooting in November.
Officer Matthew Edward Hamilton was indicted Monday by a grand jury in Guilford County after jurors heard a report from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. He has since been fired, Greensboro police said in a news release.
District Attorney Avery Crump released the following statement on Monday:
Officer Matthew Edward Hamilton with the Greensboro Police Department was indicted today in connection in the shooting death of Joseph Thomas Lee Lopez by the Guilford County Greensboro Grand Jury. The shooting occurred on November 19, 2021, at 3504 Cloverdale Drive, Greensboro NC. The matter was investigated and presented to the Grand Jury by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Officer Hamilton was indicted with the crime of Manslaughter pursuant to NCGS 14-18. The indictment means that the Grand Jury found probable cause to support the crime alleged. However, even after an indictment a person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.— District Attorney Avery Crump
The Greensboro Police Officers Association also responded to the news of the indictment.
Lopez, 29, of Greensboro, was shot and killed on Nov. 19 outside a home on Cloverdale Drive in Greensboro, according to police, after officers responded at 10:29 p.m. to a report of a wanted person trying to get into a home on the 3500 block of Cloverdale Drive.
“He was banging on our front door and was trying to turn the knob to get in, but it’s locked,” a caller told a 911 operator.
Officers reportedly found the man, later identified as Lopez, in a shed behind the home. During the confrontation, an officer fired a gunshot, hitting Lopez. Officers and EMS tried to unsuccessfully to keep Lopez alive.
The NCSBI launched an investigation into the incident. Hamilton was placed on administrative duty in November, per departmental policy.
Deputies said Lopez had barricaded himself in a home on Cloverdale Drive on Nov. 15.
He was pulled over for allegedly having a fake license plate. A deputy asked to search the vehicle, and the driver gave permission, according to the sheriff’s office. When the deputy called for backup, the driver allegedly got into the vehicle and drove away, leaving a female passenger on the side of the road.
The passenger was able to tell deputies where she thought the driver was going. Deputies found the suspect vehicle at an address on Cloverdale Drive, but he was not in the vehicle.
When deputies entered the home, they reportedly found Lopez barricaded in a back bedroom with guns. Investigators were eventually able to convince Lopez to come out, and he was arrested.
“He was taken out of here the other day for stealing my car, and he had a bunch of guns,” a 911 caller said.
Detention center officials said Lopez was released after being arrested on an unsecured bond.