(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) — Several hundred friends of a 13-year-old shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies marched in protest of the teen’s death Friday. Andy Lopez, of Santa Rosa, was holding a pellet gun when he was shot.
A Sonoma County Sherrif’s report states the deputies opened fire immediately on Tuesday after ordering Lopez to drop what they thought was a weapon. At the time, the teen was carrying what looked like a real AK-47 assault-style weapon.
The deputy feared for his life and had only seconds to react, said Lieutenant Paul Henry with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office. Lopez was holding the weapon in his left hand, and began to turn in the direction of the deputy, he explained.
“The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful he was going to be shot,” Henry said.
An preliminary autopsy report noted seven entry wounds in Lopez’ body, two of which were fatal, entering the right side of his chest and his right hip. He also suffered non-fatal wounds on his wrist and arms.
Investigators believe a total of eight rounds were fired. Four were recovered at the scene and three were recovered in the teen’s body.
Luiz Diaz, Lopez’s friend, said the toy gun was missing a telltale orange tip that indicates a fake weapon. The last time Lopez had brought the gun over he had put it down, but the gun fell, causing the tip to break, Diaz explained.
Neighborhood residents are outraged over the incident. Abrey Martin, who lives in Santa Rosa, says the deputies didn’t need to kill the teen.
“I’m sure you could tell he’s a 13-year-old boy, he’s not some maniac.”
A memorial with balloons, candles and flowers is stationed in the city. A Facebook group called “Justice for Andy Lopez” boats thousands of supporters, and protesters, including classmates and teachers, marched on Friday in hopes of holding the deputies accountable.
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