Security officer accused of killing girlfriend's two children in Garfield Heights

Who is the Garfield Heights shooting suspect?
Manuel Lopez Jr.,17, shot and killed at his home, allegedly by his mom's boyfriend. (Source: Social Media)
Manuel Lopez Jr.,17, shot and killed at his home, allegedly by his mom's boyfriend. (Source: Social Media)
Giselle Lopez, 19, allegedly shot and killed by her mother's boyfriend in Garfield Heights. (Source: Social Media)
Giselle Lopez, 19, allegedly shot and killed by her mother's boyfriend in Garfield Heights. (Source: Social Media)
Matthew Nicholson is accused of killing his girlfriend's two children in Garfield Heights. (Source: Garfield Heights police)
Matthew Nicholson is accused of killing his girlfriend's two children in Garfield Heights. (Source: Garfield Heights police)

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - The 29-year-old suspect who was in an armed standoff for several hours after allegedly shooting and killing his girlfriend's two children surrendered to police early Thursday morning.

Police reported at a Thursday press conference that Matthew Nicholson worked as a privately contracted security officer.

Officers say relatives told them Nicholson worked security at the front entrance of the federal building in downtown Cleveland.

Police initially thought Nicholson was an employee with the Department of Homeland Security.

Garfield Heights Police Chief Robert Byrne said officers responded for shots fired as a result of a domestic incident in the 4800 block of East 86th Street Wednesday at approximately 9:30 p.m.

According to Chief Byrne, the fight started when the Nicholson's girlfriend received a text from a former boyfriend. No other details of the text have been released.

The mom should be out of the hospital today. She just had minor injuries, and received them all (it seems) in the initial domestic dispute.

First responders found both victims in the driveway. They were taken away from the scene and immediately transported to area hospitals.

According to Chief Byrne, Manuel Lopez Jr., 17, died at Marymount Hospital due to injuries sustained from the shooting.

Lopez was a student in the Garfield Heights school district.

Statement from Garfield Heights City Schools:

The Garfield Heights City Schools is deeply saddened by this sudden, tragic, and senseless loss of life. The District has already and proactively involved internal and external grief counselors and other professional resources for staff and students. Despite this tragic loss, we are all Bulldogs in the Garfield Heights City Schools, and we will stick together as a family. We as that everyone respect the privacy of the family and other individuals closely involved.

The second victim, Giselle Lopez, 19, was taken to MetroHealth Hospital for surgery. She also died from her injuries, according to police.

Giselle was a student at Tri-C, and her major was nursing.

The SWAT team was called to the scene while the suspect remained barricaded inside the Garfield Heights home.

Nicholson eventually turned himself over to police custody just after 1:30 a.m. He now faces aggravated murder charges and is expected in court Friday.

The victims, Manuel and Giselle Lopez,  are the children of the suspect's girlfriend and lived in the same house with their mom, Garfield Heights police said.

Their mom suffered minor injuries during the incident.

A third child, Roberto, is in the military and based in Louisiana. Police say he is on his way home.

Police say there were no previous calls regarding that address and domestic violence. They did confirm that they'd been called there before, but said it was due to Matthew Nicholson's habit of working out in the garage and playing music too loudly.

Security officers must be licensed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Cleveland19 has requested Nicholson's records from the state.

Stay with Cleveland 19 News for the latest developments.

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