Interstate shooting

A Dalton man suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head while driving along I-75 in Ringgold early Sunday morning, March 1, police say.

According to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, his deputies and officers from the Ringgold Police Department responded to a call of an individual in a vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head on I-75 southbound south of exit 348 at approximately 2:55 a.m. Sunday.

“Upon arrival, deputies found the driver deceased with a gunshot wound to the head,” Sisk stated in a press release Monday afternoon. “The driver was later identified as being Noel Lopez, 35, of 979 Twin Springs Road SE in Dalton, Ga.”

While he was traveling, Sisk says Lopez was accompanied by two female passengers: his wife and a female friend.

Thus far, Sisk says his department has learned that the three individuals went to a bar together around 11 p.m. Saturday night in Chattanooga where they consumed alcohol for several hours.

“Statements obtained from the occupants indicate there was a mutually physical domestic argument going on between Noel Lopez and his wife in the front seat while they were traveling down the interstate,” Sisk explained. “A gun became involved, and it discharged striking Mr. Lopez in the head. The vehicle came to rest in the middle of I-75 southbound.”

Sisk says the I-75 southbound was closed for approximately two and a half hours while the scene was processed by Sheriff’s Office crime scene personnel.

Lopez’s body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations’ crime lab for an autopsy, and several pieces of evidence are being submitted for forensic processing to determine the facts of this incident, Sisk said.

“This is an ongoing investigation, so no further information will be released at this time,” Sisk said. “No criminal charges have been filed pending the completion of the investigation.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Tim Busby or Captain Chris Lyons with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office at 706-935-2424.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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