An undocumented immigrant urinating in public used a box cutter to repeatedly stab a man who had merely suggested he pull up his trousers and use a proper restroom, police say.
On Nov. 30, around 11 p.m., Montgomery County Police were dispatched to the Wheaton Metro bus turnaround along Georgia Avenue. Upon stepping out of their cruisers, officers saw a man with stab wounds and bloody slashes to his neck, face and stomach.
That victim, plus an uninjured eyewitness, pointed officers toward Salvador Gomez-Lopez, 46, who was allegedly drunk and belligerent. The two men explained that Gomez-Lopez was relieving himself in plain view of fellow bus passengers. When the victim questioned his actions, Gomez-Lopez reportedly reached into his backpack and grabbed hold of a razor-sharp box cutter.
What followed was a physical tussle that landed both Gomez-Lopez and the victim on the cold bus stop pavement. The victim ultimately pried away the knife, but only after suffering serious lacerations, including three deep cuts to the neck.
Police say Gomez-Lopez was “uncooperative,” provided them with a fake name during questioning and has meager ties to the community.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Gomez-Lopez is an El Salvadoran national who is in the United States illegally. ICE has since lodged an immigration detainer against Gomez-Lopez. He is currently in Montgomery County custody.
According to court filings, Gomez-Lopez has two children and worked part time doing odd maintenance jobs for a relative. The victim did survive, but the extent of his injuries remain unknown.
Gomez-Lopez is scheduled for a three-day trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court in early April. The Maryland Office of the Public Defender is representing him. He faces up to 38 years in prison on charges of first-degree assault, second-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure.