Man faces murder charge in stabbing of co-worker, father of five

05/21/2014 11:45 AM

05/21/2014 5:15 PM

Manuel Duran left his family in Mexico 14 years ago, moving to Fort Worth to earn money so his children could go to college.

“Since he didn’t have education, he didn’t have many chances of a good job in Mexico,” a son, Eduardo Duran, said in an email Wednesday. “Now we are all professionals.”

The elder Duran, 64, had been working on a mowing crew, but on Tuesday afternoon he was stabbed to death, allegedly by a co-worker in an unprovoked attack.

Christopher Rene Lopez, 42, faces a murder charge in connection with the stabbing on the northeast side of downtown Fort Worth.

The men, contract workers for Downtown Fort Worth Inc., were passengers in a pickup driven by a third man when the stabbing occurred about 4 p.m. in the 1100 block of East Peach Street.

“It really wasn’t a fight,” Fort Worth homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman said. “It was one guy making a statement to the other guy and then stabbing him twice. There was no arguing.”

Dan Lewis, president of General Industrial Contractors, for whom both men worked, said that he hired Duran a couple of years ago but that Lopez was a “fairly new employee.”

“It’s just absolutely devastated our company and we feel terrible about it,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the two men worked on a mowing crew together, responsible for upkeep of medians and public areas downtown. He said he had learned of no prior problems between the two employees.

“They worked on the same crew and, after interviewing the supervisor and the foreman, there was absolutely no problems whatsoever,” Lewis said. “We’re at a loss to understand what happened. It was a random thing.”

Previous convictions

Loughman declined to comment on what the suspect said to Duran, who was sitting in the center of the pickup cab.

Duran suffered two stab wounds in his chest. He was taken from the scene by ambulance and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Loughman said Lopez fled the scene alone in the pickup.

He was arrested outside his home in the 1000 block of Barclay Avenue; he still had the knife believed to have been used in the stabbing, Loughman said.

Lopez remained in the Mansfield Jail on Wednesday morning with bail set at $100,000.

He has past convictions in Tarrant County for possession of marijuana, unlawfully carrying a weapon, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and driving while intoxicated, court records say.

A better life for children

Eduardo Duran said his father was born in a very small town in Mexico and had moved to Fort Worth to help his five children have a better life.

Eduardo Duran said that although his father felt forced to move to the United States because of the economy in Mexico, his children didn’t want to move.

“My mother, Isabel Alonso, didn’t know what to do so she decided to spend three months with us in Mexico and three months with my father in Fort Worth and she has been doing this for the last 14 years,” said Eduardo Duran, who lives in Europe.

Duran said his mother had just traveled to Fort Worth to be with her husband a few days ago.

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