Training held to improve response

Olathe Police Chief Rogelio Pacheco

Olathe’s police chief lost the end of his finger Wednesday when a man he was attempting to detain bit it off, arrest affidavits say.

Francisco Lopez was booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree assault, felony menacing, criminal mischief, child abuse and resisting arrest.

He is also suspected of second-degree assault for allegedly spitting on a sheriff’s deputy.

Wednesday morning, Olathe Police Chief Rogelio Pacheco responded to reports that Lopez was armed with a knife and arguing with his father over the discipline of a child.

When Pacheco arrived, a man came at him and did not stop when told to do so. Pacheco deployed his Taser to little effect, although he was able to get him into handcuffs. The man, later identified as Lopez, reportedly continued fighting with the chief, kicking his patrol vehicle and causing more than $1,000-worth of damage during the fracas.

Pacheco was able to take Lopez to the ground, but at that point, Lopez allegedly bit off the end of Pacheco’s middle right finger.

Pacheco fired his Taser again, again to little effect. Mayor Roland Hutson arrived to help keep Lopez on the ground until backup from the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office made the scene, including a nearby school resource officer from the Olathe Middle/High School.

The tip of Pacheco’s finger was found on the sidewalk, but medical personnel later determined it could not be reattached.

Lopez allegedly made several derogatory and crude statements about Pacheco and law enforcement, including a statement about them getting what they deserve, a second arrest affidavit says.

According to that document, while being transported to jail, Lopez spat wads of saliva all over the transport vehicle, hitting Deputy Sam Gall’s sleeve with one of them.

“During his transport, Francisco again made statements about getting what you deserve, all while continuing to spit on me or my patrol vehicle,” Gall wrote in the document.

Lopez is accordingly suspected of second-degree assault. He is accused of first-degree assault because of Pacheco’s injuries.

A child at the scene told officers Lopez that before they arrived, he had tried to kick her several times and threatened to beat her with an object. Lopez’s father told him it wasn’t his place to discipline the child. According to the arrest affidavit, Lopez then picked up a knife the child had been using to prepare food and tried to stab his father with it.

“(Witness) said (Lopez’s father) continued to speak calmly to Francisco and he set the knife down and she called for the police,” Sgt. Georgette Black wrote in the arrest affidavit.

Lopez is due in court for advisement this afternoon.

Although serious assaults on officers are rare here, one is too many, Sheriff Gene Lillard said.

“Anything like that is too much. It is always a shock to our system as law enforcement officers to deal with something like that and it goes to show there are some very bad people out there who are very negative toward law enforcement,” he said.

Pacheco was in relatively good spirits and acted professionally, Lillard also said.

“Chief Pacheco was very strong at the scene. It was a bad deal.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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