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Pawtucket man accused of killing Central Falls, R.I., barber

Police say Luis Lopez was caught with firearms after torching his get-away car in Massachusetts

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — A Pawtucket man who served time for his involvement in the slaying of a man in Massachusetts more than a decade ago is accused of killing a local barber Saturday night.

Luis Lopez, 39, lay in wait in a parking lot for about an hour until 26-year-old Emmanel Torres Plaza closed up the True Stylez shop, said Police Chief Anthony Roberson.

Luis Lopez, 39, of Pawtucket, is charged with murdering Emmanel Torres Plaza in Central Falls.Central Falls Police Department

As Torres Plaza left the shop on Broad Street shortly after 9 p.m., Lopez slipped out of his own vehicle in the parking lot and crouched near the barber’s car, according to an affidavit by Central Falls police.


A witness told police that he heard gunfire, and then saw a masked man with two guns standing over the barber and firing a series of shots. Police investigators found evidence that 16 rounds were fired, into Torres Plaza’s body and his car.

The witness and video from surveillance cameras in the area captured Lopez speeding away in his green Honda Element, Roberson said.

Barely two hours later, police in Plainville, Mass., got calls about someone torching a small SUV on West Bacon Street. A masked man carrying a gas can and wearing a backpack was seen walking away from the burning vehicle, according to an affidavit from Plainville police.

It was Lopez, and his backpack held two handguns with obliterated serial numbers, three 30-round gun magazines, body armor, and two different license plates, according to police. The gun magazines were missing about 16 rounds of ammunition, according to police. Lopez no longer had the gas can — an officer found it in the nearby woods — but he smelled of gasoline and he had burns on his body, police said. The burned vehicle was the Honda.

Lopez, who is originally from Central Falls, had served time for manslaughter in the killing of a Central Falls man over a drug debt in Foxboro, Mass., in 2007. Lopez was released from prison in September 2020.


Witnesses told Central Falls detectives that Lopez and Torres Plaza knew each other, and that there may have been a feud between the men. Investigators were told the shooting may have been due to Lopez believing Torres Plaza was involved with his girlfriend, who sought a restraining order against Lopez, according to a Central Falls police affidavit.

Lopez is charged by Plainville police with multiple felonies, including arson, firearms charges, and being a career criminal. He waved a rendition hearing in Wrentham District Court on Monday and is being held without bail.

He is expected to return to Rhode Island by Friday, where he will face charges of murder and a dozen others, including illegal firearms, high-capacity gun magazines, and armor-piercing bullets charges.

Amanda Milkovits can be reached at Follow her @AmandaMilkovits.