A 13-year-old boy from Santa Rosa, California was shot and killed by police officers on Tuesday afternoon after he was told by authorities to put down a "replica" rifle he was carrying.
The Press Democrat reports that Andy Lopez -- who was identified as the dead teen by his father Rodrigo Lopez -- had been walking along a field with a toy gun that the father says belonged to his son's friend. Two officers patrolling in the same Santa Rosa neighborhood spotted Lopez walking with what authorities said looked to be a type of rifle. In a news release, Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O'Leary said that the two Sonoma County sheriff's deputies called for backup and then ordered Lopez to drop the gun. Sometime after instructing Lopez to do so, they fired multiple rounds at the teen. According to O'Leary, Lopez was struck several times.
After firing, the officers again ordered Lopez to move away from the rifle. Deputies approached the unresponsive teen and handcuffed him. They then called for medical assistance and administered first aid to Lopez. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Memorial for 13 year old Andy Lopez at his Jr. High school pic.twitter.com/XxymHl1ns0
— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) October 23, 2013
Once deputies had secured the shooting scene, they discovered the gun Lopez was carrying was a "replica" of an assault weapon, according to the Sherriff Department's news release. Lopez's family have called the gun a "toy." It remains unclear if the gun recovered at the scene -- described as an AK-47 style rifle -- could fire BBs or pellets. A plastic hand gun was also discovered in the teen's waistband, O'Leary said. The department's report does say that "the male subject" didn't comply with the deputies' orders. But it wasn't detailed exactly what he did.
Rodrigo Lopez told The Press Democrat that the last time he saw his son was on Tuesday morning as he headed out for work. "I told him what I tell him every day," Lopez said in Spanish. "Behave yourself." A memorial has been set up at the site of the shooting and Santa Rosa residents are expressing outrage that deadly forced was used against the 8th grader.
"He was not a gang member, he was an 8th grader," Anita Ruiz told local station KNTV. Her son was friends with Lopez. "He was not a criminal, but yet he's dead. He's 13 years old. Couldn't something else have been done?"
The names of the deputies have not been released. But they are currently on administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated. Both deputies were uninjured in the incident.