Young ROTC cadet commits suicide at his home in Huntington

In Campus News, News
Photo Courtesy of Adriana Mraz

An ROTC cadet and student at Cal State Fullerton committed suicide Tuesday night at his house in Huntington Beach.

Roy Lopez, 21, who was on the ROTC’s color guard team and a class leader in his military science class, was known for his “beautiful big, bright smile” and his joking personality.

Lopez shot himself in his bedroom of his family’s Huntington Beach home Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., said Lopez’s mother, Adriana Mraz.

The official cause of death was still being investigated by the Orange County Coroner’s Office Wednesday night.

“I can’t say anything until the autopsy is complete. We have to do our full investigation and examination,” said Allison O’Neil, supervising deputy coroner for the Coroner’s Office.

Lopez was a sophomore psychology major in his third semester in the ROTC program but was not in the Army yet. ROTC cadets have two years to contract with the Army, meaning they pledge to join the Army upon graduating from the program.

Lopez was enrolled in ROTC classes, but he was not yet contracted, said Lt. Col. Kelley Donham, a military science professor and ROTC instructor at CSUF.

Lopez was planning on contracting in January.

ROTC members were notified about Lopez’s suicide in a meeting before physical training at 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to Alexandra Montiel, a public affairs officer for CSUF ROTC.

“All I can speak for Roy is that he was always positive and happy and joking around so everyone basically was in shock that he would have done such a thing because he never gave a sign for anything,” said Montiel.

Lopez was following his older brother’s footsteps in wanting to join the Army, Mraz said.

“He was very proud of following his brother’s footsteps in trying to achieve a name for himself and a career … he was extremely thrilled to join Cal State Fullerton and … participate in the ROTC,” said Mraz.

Mraz said one of Lopez’s biggest assets was that he was always respectful to people and had a gentle heart. She said she will remember his kindness.

According to Mraz, Lopez had become distraught after a breakup with his ex-girlfriend a week before the suicide.

“I think he was just in despair because she kept text messaging him and calling him and telling him that he didn’t do enough—he didn’t give her enough stuff,” Mraz said.

The family of Lopez’s ex-girlfriend declined to comment.

Lopez will be remembered by his friends and family. A Roy Lopez remembrance Facebook page created Wednesday night already had 78 likes. “He had a smile that people can notice,” the page’s bio states.

“He was an outstanding cadet, and he was really passionate about what he did,” Montiel said.

Mraz said Lopez had “the most gentle heart.” He would have someone’s back without thinking twice, she said.

“He’ll be greatly missed by everyone. He’s left a big imprint in our lives and he leaves a void,” Mraz said.

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  • Mykalynn Rumbaugh

    We’re all gonna miss you Roy so much! Thanks for everything! I’ll never forget you and the impact you made on my life. May you Rest In Piece. I’ll see you again one day, until then may God take the best care of you.

  • James Cordero

    I had the pleasure of teaching Roy and Joe at Mary Star Elementary in San Pedro. Despite an earlier tragedy that befell the boys and their mother with the loss of their step-father, the Lopez-Mraz family has always been an example of Faith and Generosity to our school, parish and the community. Roy visited my 8th grade class last school year and spoke about the pride he felt in his military calling and the love he had for his country.

    Our deepest sympathies go out to the Lopez-Mraz family. Roy’s smile and all that he stood for will not be forgotten.

    – James Cordero and Family

  • Sara Jasmin Martinez

    I may not have known you Roy, but my deepest sympathies and prayers go out to you and your family. So sad that you never got to fulfill your dream. Service men have always had a special place in my heart because of my brother and friends. You wont be forgotten, you are in God’s hands now.

  • Lori Zankich

    The Lopez-Mraz family have been like family to ours for several years. Roy had a heart of gold and would stop at nothing to do for others, as was the same for the entire family…that’s just who they are! I received a text from Roy after the recent passing of my daughter, he simply wanted to know how I was doing and if there was anything we needed to please let him know. I was taken aback by his warm and compassionate concern and at the same time I knew that his concern was something that should not surprise me, he was truly a gentleman beyond his years and will be greatly missed.

    Roy, you and Amanda were like brother and sister at times….watch over each other now.

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