The Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a toy rifle "feels for the loss of life" but responded properly to a threat, his attorney said Wednesday.
Deputy Erick Gelhaus, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff's office, "absolutely believed it was a real AK-47 and absolutely feared for his life" when he fired eight shots on Oct. 22, killing eighth-grader Andy Lopez Cruz, said attorney Terry Leoni.
Leoni gave her first statement on behalf of Gelhaus as many community members and protesters continued to express outrage over the shooting and call for the deputy's arrest, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Video: Man Killed in Gunfight with CA Deputy, Illegal Alien Deported 3 Times and Protected by State Law
ICE issued a statement that reads in part: "This incident may have been prevented if ICE had been notified about any of the multiple times Hernandez-Morales was released from local custody over the last few years. This is an impactful, scary example of how public safety is affected by laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies' ability to cooperate with ICE."