NEW: Man who fired fatal shot in West Palm said he thought gun was toy


A West Palm Beach man is dead after being shot in the head Sunday evening by what the gunman thought was a toy, West Palm Beach police said.

Nicolas Sanchez, 38, was talking to Junior Geovanni Lopez-Rivera, 22, about Lopez-Rivera’s vehicle shortly after 5:30 p.m. on the 600 block of 34th Street, by its intersection with Broadway.

Tracking West Palm Beach’s homicides

Lopez-Rivera brought his car to the Sanchez’s home for Sanchez to repair. Lopez-Rivera began taking items from the car while looking for his pliers and found the gun.

West Palm Beach police say Lopez-Rivera told them he found a handgun that he had never seen before, but thought it was fake because it did not have a trigger guard. While he was testing the weight, Lopez-Rivera pulled the trigger and shot Sanchez in the head, according to a police report released Monday.

The police record does not indicate that the shooting was purposeful.

Sanchez was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Lopez-Rivera was taken into custody and arrested on a manslaughter charge. Judge Caroline Shepherd set his bail at $35,000 and ordered him to have no contact with the victim’s family or to possess any weapons if he is released. Lopez-Rivera remained in custody late Monday.

Sanchez is the 26th person killed in West Palm Beach in what has been a particularly deadly year for the city, according to a Palm Beach Post database.

Staff writer Rachel Frazin contributed to this story.



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