Greenwich Police Chief Steve Dorsey explained in detail Friday the June 1 actions of Officer Aaron Smith.
At 12:30 a.m. that morning, Smith, on normal patrol, stopped a 2004 Dodge Stratus driven by Misael Lopez and Hiram Emmanuel Lopez, brothers and suspects in the Baseline Road murder of Daniel Jacinto Hernandez, possibly a short time before they were stopped.
After briefly taking one of the Lopez brothers into custody, Smith let the pair go after they produced a Texas driver’s license and became cooperative.
“The reason for the traffic stop was speeding,” Dorsey said in a news release, adding the Lopezes were clocked at 8 mph more than the speed limit.
Dorsey stressed that at the time of the traffic stop, Smith did not know the Lopez brothers were suspects in a homicide
“Officer Smith did question the driver about blood on his arm,” the chief said, adding the brothers indicated it was paint from earlier work.
“Officer Smith could have been easily injured or killed by the two suspects,” Dorsey said. “What was the probably cause to detain them any longer? As far as Officer Smith (knew), it was a traffic stop for a speed violation, not a homicide that had not been reported yet.”
Dorsey noted Smith then was on vacation from June 3 to 13 and did not know Huron County had a homicide or that he had stopped the actual suspects that night.
“He learned of the homicide when the sheriff’s department called him on June 14,” he said. “Officer Smith called off back-up because they (suspects) started to be cooperative and speaking in English and produced a driver’s license.”
Dorsey said he’s OK with how the situation was handled.
“I look at it as a positive break that the sheriff’s department has received by Officer Smith’s traffic stop, to help solve the homicide case,” the chief said. “I am thankful that Officer Smith was not hurt or that he did not have to use deadly force to protect himself from a crime he had no knowledge about until June 14.”
Look for a much more detailed and full response from Dorsey and Smith in Monday’s issue.