Woman Devastated About Ex’s Role In Police Officer’s Death
WEST JORDAN, Utah – The longtime girlfriend of the man accused of killing a South Salt Lake police officer said she felt terrible about what happened, and expressed concern about how to explain what happened to her children.
There are certain topics parents struggle to talk to their children about.
For Sonia Lopez, she’s dreading the day she has to explain to her 6-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter how their father made bad decisions and killed a police officer.
“They don’t know the details. I haven’t told them anything,” said Lopez while sobbing. “I told her, my daughter, you know, ‘I can’t tell you yet.’ And she said, ‘Will it be too much for me?’ And I just tell her yes.”
Officials said their father, Felix Calata, hit and killed South Salt Lake police officer David Romrell this past weekend during a robbery.
Calata was then shot and killed by other officers.
Lopez was in New York for Thanksgiving with family and friends when she got the call about what had happened.
“His mother called me. I got the call and when I saw it, it was at about 4 a.m. and I kind of had that little feeling,” said Lopez. “When she told me, I just fell on the floor. I just couldn’t even pick up the phone anymore – just left the phone on the floor.”
Even though Lopez wasn’t officially married to Calata, they had been together for nearly 13 years.
They met as students at Kearns High School.
“Every day, I get the image of him coming to me in the hallway walking on Valentine’s Day with this big, huge, red teddy bear,” she said with a smile.
However, that was before the problems with drugs began.
“Drug addiction is real. There are a lot of families that are suffering,” said Lopez.
She said she left Catala about a year ago when his drug addiction became too much.
Lopez thought, perhaps, her leaving would force him to get help and start to lead a better life.
“Hopefully this can be a huge wake up call to so many people to, you know, have them change themselves because they need to realize that they affect so many different lives around them,” said Lopez.
Lopez and her family wrote a note to officer Romrell’s wife and family saying how sorry they were about what happened.
“As a mother, I wish I could just give her a hug to tell her I understand her pain,” said Lopez. “I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive.”
Although Lopez did not make any excuses for what happened and what Calata did, she wanted others to know there was another family hurting and grieving.
Lopex said she hurt for her two children who will grow up without their father.
“I know people probably don’t care to hear it, but I do because I have children,” she said while wiping tears from her eyes. “We feel for them, and we are so sorry.”
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