Santa Rosa Police say two deputies who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy rifle only fired at the boy as he stood holding what they thought was a real assault weapon. But one resident of the neighborhood where the shooting took place has now stepped forward with a different story.
In an interview with KTVU-TV, Ethan Oliver says he witnessed officers fire shots into Andy Lopez after the teen had fallen to the ground. Oliver lives across the street from the field where the shooting took place in Santa Rosa, Calif. He says he walked outside after hearing two gun shots and saw Lopez already on the ground. "Then the cops went at it again and unloaded like 6 to 7 shots,” Oliver said. KTVU asked him "if he meant that the deputy shot Lopez while he was on the ground." And Oliver stuck to his claim, stating that was "exactly what I saw."
Authorities haven't yet responded to Oliver's statement. But the Santa Rosa and Petaluma police departments have joined the District Attorney's office in the shooting's investigation.
As we reported earlier, Santa Rosa Police say that the two deputies were patrolling the neighborhood and stopped their marked police vehicle at 3:14 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon and ordered Lopez twice to put down the "air soft" gun he was carrying. Authorities say Lopez's back was turned away from them and they didn't realize how young he was. When Lopez did turn around, they saw the barrel of the gun pointed toward them. According to police, the deputies were fearful of the gun they believed was an assault rifle and one of them open fire on Lopez.
"The deputy then fired several rounds from his service weapon at the subject," Lt. Paul Henry said, "striking him at least one time. The subject immediately fell to the ground."
Crowd gathering where 13-year old Andy Lopez was shot and killed in Santa Rosa yesterday. pic.twitter.com/nPEQxTInol
— Heather Ishimaru (@HeatherIshimaru) October 24, 2013
Andy Lopez's father, Rodrigo Lopez, told The Press Democrat on Tuesday 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.