The Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who fired the shots that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez who was carrying an airsoft AK-47 replica last week is a firearms expert, Iraq War veteran and prolific contributor to magazines and online forums dealing with guns and police use of force.
Sheriff's officials had previously declined to release the deputy's name, citing threats to his safety. Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said the office was still dealing with those threats and would, if necessary, take measures to protect Gelhaus, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Gelhaus joined the Sheriff's Office in 1989 and is one of its two dozen field training officers in addition to being a firearms instructor and range master with special training in firearms safety and instruction.
He has testified in court as an expert on gangs and narcotics, according to a colleague. In 2004, he was awarded the office's Medal of Valor for pulling occupants of a burning vehicle to safety.