Riverside, CA – One of the U.S. Marines killed in the bombings in Afghanistan on Thursday was the son of two members of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and had planned to join the department when he returned home.
U.S. Marine Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22, had planned to follow in the footsteps of his mother and father and become a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy when he finished his deployment, USA Today reported.
“I am unbelievably saddened and heartbroken for the Lopez family as they grieve over the loss of their American Hero,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a Facebook post on Friday.
“Hunter Lopez, son of our own Captain Herman Lopez and Deputy Alicia Lopez, tragically lost his life while serving our country in the United States Marine Corps,” Sheriff Bianco wrote. “He was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan on Thursday, August 26th. Before joining the Marine Corps, Hunter proudly served in our Sheriff’s Explorer Program.”
“Our entire department is mourning this tragic loss. The Lopez family exemplifies the meaning of Service Above Self,” the sheriff finished.
Hunter Lopez, United States Marine Corps (22nd Battalion, 1st Marines). Hunter is the son of two Riverside County Sheriff Dept. deputies, and he was one of our brave service members killed in Afghanistan. RIP Hero. God bless your grieving family. pic.twitter.com/dbRtzVa2LV
— Long Beach POA (@LBPOA) August 27, 2021
Lopez was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines and deployed to Afghanistan.
The Riverside Sheriff’s Association said in a press release that Lopez had served as a Riverside Sheriff’s Explorer Scout from September of 2014 until August of 2017 in the Palm Desert Station, USA Today reported.
“Our entire community feels the anguish, and we mourn the death of Hunter, who answered the call to serve, defend and protect our nation,” the Riverside Sheriff’s Association wrote. “Like his parents who serve our community, being a Marine to Hunter wasn’t a job; it was a calling. He loved his family, and as we grieve for Hunter and his fellow Marines taken from us too soon, there are simply no words to express how deeply he will be missed – Semper Fi.”
Lopez, an alumni of the Desert Sands Unified School District, was the son of Riverside County Sheriff’s Captain Herman Lopez and Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Lopez.
Captain Lopez, who joined the sheriff’s department in 1997, commands the Coachella Valley’s Thermal sheriff station, USA Today reported.
He also serves as the police chief for City of La Quinta, which has contracted its law enforcement services through the sheriff’s department.
“Our La Quinta family is in mourning today with the tragic loss of Hunter Lopez, one of the fallen United States Service Members in the attack in Afghanistan,” La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans said, according to USA Today.
“We are all so humbled by the service and ultimate sacrifice that Hunter gave to protect our country. He was a brave and selfless soldier who answered the call to be a United States Marine,” Evans said.
“Like his parents, Hunter wanted to help serve others and protect his community,” the mayor continued. “Our City Council and staff ask the community to join us in prayer and support for the Lopez family, as they navigate through this difficult time.”
Corporal Hunter Lopez’s mom, an RSO deputy, tells me his last act of service was bringing this little boy in Afghanistan to safety … carried him on his shoulders for five miles. He is the epitome of hero. pic.twitter.com/xqCrEJlCV1
— Kitty Alvarado NBC (@HeyKitty) August 28, 2021
Still surreal. Love you bro. You were selfless to the end and I know you went out fighting. I miss you and I’ll see you soon bro. Hunter Lopez KIA 1/15/1999 – 8/26/2021 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/HUOdMXuwrm
— NOBLE-03🇺🇸 (@vallesjulian11) August 27, 2021
Lopez’s mother, Deputy Lopez, joined the sheriff’s department in 2001 and is the board secretary for the deputies’ union, USA Today reported.
She received the Rick Espinoza Distinguished Service Award in 2017 after she donated a kidney to a young boy in need of a transplant.
Eleven U.S. Marines were killed in the suicide bombings on Aug. 26 that took the lives of 13 U.S. service members and almost 200 Afghan civilians, USA Today reported.