A 69-year-old Durango native was found dead Tuesday night near Rotary Park.
Francisco Lopez appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities.
Durango Police Department Cmdr. Ray Shupe said authorities received a report of shots fired around 8:30 p.m. Lopez was found near the Animas River, close to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks.
No foul play is suspected, Shupe said.
La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith said Lopez’s family had reported him missing earlier in the day. An autopsy was performed Wednesday and next of kin was notified.
Lopez’s son, Jesse, said his father was a fourth-generation Durango native. Over the years, he served on the Durango Police Department and worked as a chef at several restaurants around town.
“Everyone knew Frank Lopez,” he said.
Jesse Lopez said his father had a “great sense of humor” and loved to spend time with his family, fishing and hunting. He left behind four children and eight grandchildren.
In recent years, Lopez’s health began failing, Jesse Lopez said. Still, news of Lopez’s death came as a shock.
“You look for signs, but they weren’t there,” Jesse Lopez said. “But we never know what people are thinking.”
Jesse Lopez said the family plans a celebration life. No date has been set, and it will remain a private event.
“I think everyone that knows him has nothing negative to say,” Jesse Lopez said. “He was a kind, gentle soul. He wasn’t without faults, but nobody is.”