Inver Grove Heights man sentenced to life in prison in 2020 fatal shooting |

Inver Grove Heights man sentenced to life in prison in 2020 fatal shooting

Marcelino Santiago Lopez. Photo: St. Paul Police Department. Marcelino Santiago Lopez.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: August 31, 2021 04:26 PM
Created: August 31, 2021 04:19 PM

An Inver Grove Heights man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the shooting death of 20-year-old Brandon Jose Nieves last year.

According to the Dakota County Attorney's Office, 20-year-old Marcelino Santiago Lopez will serve a life sentence without parole after he was found guilty of first-degree murder. In addition, he was also found guilty of attempted murder in the second degree and has been sentenced to serve just under 14½ years (173 months) for the non-fatal shooting of a 16-year-old, which occurred at the same time and location.

The judge found Lopez not guilty of attempted murder in the first degree, and dismissed the remaining charges of murder in the second degree and assault in the first degree. Lopez was indicted by a grand jury in November 2020. He waived a jury trial and opted instead for a court trial.

South St. Paul Police said officers were called to the 1600 block of North Concord Street at 1:39 p.m. on April 2, 2020, on the report of a shooting. When they arrived, they found two people suffering from gunshot wounds; one had a wound to his head, the other suffering from a wound to his chest. The man who died was identified as Nieves. The other victim was a 16-year-old boy, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition but survived the incident.

According to the criminal complaint, multiple witnesses told police they saw Lopez fire a shotgun at the victims before fleeing in a silver SUV. Lopez called police and turned himself in a short time later, a criminal complaint states. Lopez also allegedly admitted to going to the location to fight Nieves because Nieves was involved in a romantic relationship with Lopez's ex-girlfriend. The fight had been arranged on social media, and Lopez also admitted to threatening Nieves several times on social media.

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