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Hip-hop vs. beach music led to soldier’s death in Steamboat, ex-wife says

Rocky Mountain News
Steamboat Springs, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado ” Richard Lopez’s ex-wife can’t get over the irony and sadness of the soldier’s death ” from wounds outside a Steamboat Springs, Collorado bar after he slipped on the ice then suffered a severe beating.

Lopez was a survivor, serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces in Afghanistan, parachuting out of airplanes and battling back from being shot in the stomach in combat three years ago, said Shannon Boahn, who was married to Lopez for eight years.

“He’d just returned from Afghanistan,” Boahn said of Lopez, who was assigned to a special forces unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.



He picked up his 16-year-old son, Nick from Jacksonville, Fla., on Christmas Day and flew out to Steamboat Springs to join his friends, Tim and Wesley Mottlau.

They had spent a great week together, and for their last night in Steamboat Springs the three adults went to the Tap House on Friday night, Boahn said.



Wes Mottlau told her that the trouble started when Lopez and the Mottlaus played a Jimmy Buffett song on the jukebox.

“These other two guys didn’t like the song and were giving them a hard time,” Boahn said. “They put on a Kanye West song, and Richard, Wes and Tim were razzing them about the Kanye West song.”

“Wes said that they were walking back to the car and the men were razzing them and Wes told Richard to just forget about it.



“But I guess Richard was responding back to the insults.

“The next thing they knew, Richard was over there on the ground. They think he slipped on the ice.

“Everyone was amazed that a Special Forces soldier could manage to die when he hit his head … he just slipped and was unconscious.”

But the story doesn’t end there, she said.

“This one guy continued beating him when he was unconscious,” Boahn said.

She said Wes Mottlau is about 6-feet 4-inches and weighs more than 200 lbs. “And he was severely beaten up just from being on top of Richard, trying to protect him from the blows.”

Steamboat Springs Police are treating the case as a homicide.

“I hope they do all they can to put this person away,” she said.

Boahn said she and Lopez had a good relationship, despite their divorce.

“He was a very good father,” she said. “He and Nick had a very good relationship, even if they went several months without seeing each other. It was never awkward.”

“Richard was very responsible, but also very fun-loving … very young at heart.”

The funeral will take place in California, Boahn said. She isn’t sure of the date.


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