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Calif. Deputy Kills Boy who Brandished Airsoft AK-47

October 24, 2013  | 

Airsoft AK-47 similar to the one carried by 13-year-old Andy Lopez when he was shot and killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy. Reports say Lopez's rifle did not have an orange tip to indicate it was a BB gun.
Airsoft AK-47 similar to the one carried by 13-year-old Andy Lopez when he was shot and killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy. Reports say Lopez's rifle did not have an orange tip to indicate it was a BB gun.

Sonoma County, Calif., sheriff's deputies shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying an Airsoft replica of an AK-47 Tuesday afternoon during an encounter in a southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood.

At 3 p.m., two sheriff's deputies patrolling in the area of Moorland and West Robles avenues observed Andy Lopez walking with what sheriff's officials said appeared to be some type of rifle, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.

The deputies called for backup and repeatedly ordered the boy to drop the rifle, Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said in a news release.

At some point after the deputies told Lopez to drop the rifle, they fired several rounds from their handguns at the boy, who was hit multiple times, O'Leary said.

Lopez was later pronounced dead at the scene. Neither deputy was injured, said Sheriff's Lt. Steve Brown. Sheriff's officials did not release the names of the deputies Tuesday, but said both had been placed on administrative leave.

The shooting has triggered a number of protests in the community. Santa Rosa police are investigating.

 

Tags: Airsoft, Sonoma County (Calif.) Sheriff, Officer Involved Shootings, California


Comments (24)

Displaying 1 - 24 of 24

chuck @ 10/24/2013 2:24 PM

To my dear brothers I hope that you recover mentally from this. I hope that you are seeing a counselor for this. Dont be afraid to reach out for help. Split second decision you can't tell if it's real or fake. Why the hell did the parents ok this. Pretty stupid way to bond with your kid

Geovani Olivas @ 10/24/2013 5:39 PM

I agree with Chuck. I hope both deputies recover mentally and know that they were not in the wrong.

Chuckie @ 10/24/2013 6:53 PM

A lot of holes in the reporting of the incident. Did the boy point the rifle at anyone during the encounter? If not, then I wonder what necessitated the use of lethal force?

In my area, it is nothing to see boys or other individuals walking along the road with guns. Open carrying a handgun is legal and carrying an unloaded rifle is normal especially during hunting season. I once saw five teenaged boys walking along a main road carrying what appeared to be Airsoft rifles. Presumably they were on their way to some place where they can use them safely.

I hope they have everything on video so that they have the evidence that will prove the Deputies' innocence or guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. Prayers to all involved.

clifford zigler @ 10/24/2013 7:43 PM

all the facts are not know at this time...why did these deputies not seek cover behind there unit then confront the suspect...seven rounds fired when no one is shooting at you...a little trigger happy me thinks

Dave S55 @ 10/24/2013 7:48 PM

The most prudent issue now is to wait until the investigation completes...And Provide the officer's involved and help and assitance that may need. nation-wide things are on high alert with all the shootings and OSB's as a result. The true bottom line at this point unless you were on scene you really do not know what they faced.

DaveS55 @ 10/24/2013 7:52 PM

Typo's corrected? The most prudent issue now is to wait until the investigation completes...And Provide the officer's involved and help and assistance that may need. Nation-wide things are on high alert with all the shootings and OSB's as a result. The true bottom lines at this point unless you were on scene you really do not know what they faced.

Retired Chief @ 10/24/2013 9:37 PM

Lots of things to consider. I too live in a rural area where seeing young people with real firearms is no big deal. It is ranching country and hunting country. But Sonoma County California is a whole different gig. Not common there at all. And, this comes on the heels of an even younger kid shooting a teacher and classmates at a school in the state next door. Maybe the Deputies had no cover. The airsoft gun depicted certainly looks real enough and if the barrel had no orange tip they had no way of knowing it was not real. Reports say the kid turned the weapon in the direction of the officers. It's a tough call and I certainly won't Monday morning quarterback their decision. I suspect, though this has not been mentioned in the media, that there could have been a language barrier. The kid was Hispanic and when his parents were interviewed on TV they spoke Spanish. Perhaps the kid did not understand sufficient English to know what the Deputies were telling him to do.

Retired Chief @ 10/24/2013 9:37 PM

Lots of things to consider. I too live in a rural area where seeing young people with real firearms is no big deal. It is ranching country and hunting country. But Sonoma County California is a whole different gig. Not common there at all. And, this comes on the heels of an even younger kid shooting a teacher and classmates at a school in the state next door. Maybe the Deputies had no cover. The airsoft gun depicted certainly looks real enough and if the barrel had no orange tip they had no way of knowing it was not real. Reports say the kid turned the weapon in the direction of the officers. It's a tough call and I certainly won't Monday morning quarterback their decision. I suspect, though this has not been mentioned in the media, that there could have been a language barrier. The kid was Hispanic and when his parents were interviewed on TV they spoke Spanish. Perhaps the kid did not understand sufficient English to know what the Deputies were telling him to do.

DaveS55 @ 10/25/2013 1:32 AM

(Retired Chief) Sir-some very good observations...In a later update it also said he this:Deputies also found a plastic handgun in the boy's waistband, police said. The pellet gun did not have an orange-tipped barrel like other replica firearms, including the plastic handgun found in the boy's waistband, police said.

The TV viewing was one-sided and they kept bringing up age...also...I will wait until more is known after the emotions die down some Of course folks are upset - I bet the deputies giving him first aid with blood all around did not sleep well either. One thing many forget is time.

Lenny @ 10/25/2013 5:05 AM

"The deputy's mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,"
Well that didn't take long did it?
The universal get out of jail free card.
"A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy twice told the boy to drop the weapon, but he instead raised it in the deputy's direction, police said at a news conference Wednesday."
Of course he did, just like Officer Cardan Spencer said Bobby Gerald Bennett did. So a young boy is walking in his neighborhood with toys, 2 "highly trained professionals" show up, sh*t themselves and fire eight shots killing the boy and then handcuffing him. Could someone explain to this Liberal why you go out of your way to kill someone and then say you attempted first aid? Interesting to read the kid also had a hand gun in his waistband, probably thought he might need a drop piece in case things went bad.
Nice to know most of the comments on either cop sites are calling this a good shoot. I wonder what a bad shoot is. Charming!

Greg @ 10/25/2013 5:15 AM

Santa Rosa, California, big gang area, 13 year old hispanic male carrying what appears to be an AK-47 where there was no expectation to encounter such a thing. Nope, nothing to see here, move along.

Wait, gangs are recruiting members younger and younger, "children" know they cannot be charged as adults and face only a few years of kiddee-jail...they also make great enforcers since they don't have any morals other than the group's. Nope, no reason for officers to be concerned.

But kids that age don’t do evil things…well, except for the 14 y.o, slaughtering the teacher and then going to a movie…or the fellow youth killing the 55 y.o. female jogger stabbed for fun! Guess “children” do commit evil violent crimes.

I expect these officers to be railroaded by the “usual suspects” of race baiters and the California lack of support for officers.
Praying for the officers.

Pup @ 10/25/2013 11:12 AM

I agree with you Greg. As for Lenny, he's just one of those pot stur individuals who don't have a clue what it's like to be in a gun fight or deal with these type of situations. He made the comment, "The universal get out of jail free card". It's obvious Lenny would have just stood there and done nothing because the kid was just a teenager carrying a rifle. Hmmm, such an idiot. By the way, comments made said 7, 8, several rounds were fired. So, which is it? You guys can't get your stories straight reading comments. Possibly only one round hit the subject. The bottom line Lenny, Don't Judge until you get the facts.

Bruindep @ 10/25/2013 11:55 AM

Wow! Lenny, your ignorance is staggering. You stated the young man was walking around with "toys". No red tip on either "toy". Does it look like a toy to you? Contrary to what you believe, in our line of work, if someone points one of these "toys" at us, we don't have the luxury to inspect it before making a decision whether to shoot or don't shoot. I have a wife, daughter, and granddaughter at home waiting for me to come home safe every night, but I'm sure you can't conceive that we also have loved ones that worry if we're coming home each night. My guess is that you have never had to work a graveyard shift, contact people who want to hurt you, walk up to a vehicle occupied by 4 gang members not knowing if any of them are armed, or respond to a baby not breathing call. I can't judge those 2 "highly trained professionals" because I was not there, but evidently you were. This is a tragedy on both sides, and prayers go out to all.

rcarlton @ 10/25/2013 1:42 PM

This is for Lenny. How long have you been a cop? When was the last time you faced someone that at what was perceived as a weapon? Because the boy was 12 that makes a difference? I guess if he would have had a real gun, and had shot one of the officers that would have been okay with you? Don't comment on stuff you know nothing about.

DPB @ 10/25/2013 1:49 PM

Why does everyone respond to Lenny. He is no cop, nor is he worthy of our response. Ignore him.

Pup @ 10/26/2013 10:46 AM

I agree DPB. Lenny loves the attention and enjoys sturring the pot. He's stil an IDIOT!!!

stan @ 10/26/2013 9:26 PM

And Lenny will never return to this page to read everyone's reply.

Prayers to the officers and the families.

Lenny @ 10/26/2013 11:44 PM

@Stan
Wrong, you must be the detective in the group.
And I'll be back again to respond to those of you who took it upon yourselves to attack me personally.

Bob@Az. @ 10/27/2013 4:06 PM

Lenny, do you mean like you do everytime you post a statement pertaining to LEOs doing a job your not qualified to do? Or even understand? The only reason you post is because you'll remain anonymous and you can rant as much as you like. Try being a sheep dog instead of a little crybaby. Blues, Stay Safe.

AJ @ 10/28/2013 7:41 AM

@Chuckie: yeah I'm curious also but that really doesn't matter. Action is ALWAYS faster than reaction. So if they ordered him to drop the weapon, gave him time to comply, and he didn't... he is bought and paid for.

Grab the ol' simunitions, square off with your partner, both draw to a low ready. He gets to go first, you cannot go until he does. Unless you are an IPSC ninja, he'll smoke you every time. We do not need to wait until we are taking fire to administer lethal force, that line of thinking needlessly costs innocent lives.

Johnny Law @ 10/28/2013 9:06 AM

Sad for all involved. In a gang infested area with a young man carrying a gun what else would you expect but tragedy. Kids kill as easily as adults, recent school shootings prove this. Kids with hunting guns in rural country areas and a kid with an AK-47 replica running around in a city are two very different settings! And last, ignore Lenny, he is not a law enforcement officer and his comments mean nothing. Only when you have been there and are a professional can you comment on instances like this. He wants attention, thats all, so ignore him. Kinda like commenting on open heart surgery when you are not a doctor.

Richard Hightower @ 10/28/2013 12:08 PM

LEOs donot and should not get the benifit of the doubt. Especially in matters of Leathal Force. This incident sounds problematic to me.

Sam @ 11/13/2013 4:17 AM

My opinion is that this is a tragedy on both sides and I do not doubt that the officer may have acted out of concern for public safety; however, that being said, I do think that disciplinary action must be carried out against Deputy Gelhaus (not dismissal, though) so that officers should be more certain of what the subject intends to do before discharging their weapons. Failing to do so would put human life in danger and tarnishing the reputation of other fellow officers. Don't be trigger happy, that's all I'm saying.

Sam @ 11/13/2013 4:18 AM

Sorry, typo... *and tarnish the reputation of other fellow officers.

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