The daughter of the cab driver gunned down last weekend at the Omni Hotel says her father died trying to stop the shooter. Clarissa Lopez says when she found out what happened she knew in her heart her dad was trying to do something to diffuse the situation. It's a feeling those close to the investigation have confirmed for her.
"It was one of the hardest days of my life," said Lopez
Lopez has collected pictures of the memories she has made over the years with her father. When he served overseas with the Navy he would send pictures of himself and on the back write her notes about where he was and what he was doing.
"It was my dad's routine to go to the Omni Hotel in the morning," she said. That's where Lopez would have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper while he waited to pick up customers. On Sunday, July 5th Contreras was in the lobby when police say Michael Holt walked in with the rifle.
"His actions to me were just an example of how wonderful of a person he truly was and the type of service he gave by serving in the Navy and continued to serve people," said Lopez. "I think if my dad had to do it all over again he would have done the same thing. He would have tried to go and keep the peace."
Lopez knows the Holt family is also grieving. She hopes one day to find peace. "I know my dad was a forgiving person and he would have forgiven for any wrong doing. It's hard for us to do that right now because we are in the middle of everything right now but I think one day we will all have peace with it," said Lopez.
Detectives released Contreras' cab on Tuesday. It was processed as evidence for the investigation. Lopez plans to keep the cab. Her dad's 15 year career behind the wheel let him share countless stores because she says he loved to talk.
"It's so heartwarming to know so many people would lend their ear to him," said Lopez. She's grateful to all those who listened over the years and for all the support, prayers, donations and comments on social media.
"I want to say thank you to everyone who I don't know," said Lopez.
Her dad never made a trip without his American flag folded on the dash board and the cross.
"We figured it would be a nice thing to do to drive his cab one last time," she said. On Saturday she will drive the cab to his final resting place.
"It's a last tribute. One last ride for him," said Lopez.
A rosary for Contreras will take place Friday in Beeville. He will be laid to rest on Saturday with full military honors.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses.