13-Year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed in Santa Rosa Tuesday afternoon when two Sonoma County sheriff's deputies saw him walking with what they believed to be a real assault rifle.
The two deputies were on patrol around 3 p.m. yesterday when they spotted Lopez carrying "some type of rifle" in the area of Mooreland and West Robles Avenues. According to authorities, the deputies called for backup and ordered the suspect to drop the weapon. After multiple requests elicited no response from the boy, the deputies opened fire, hitting him several times. The boy fell, landing on the rifle. After it became apparent that the boy couldn't move away from the suspected weapon, the deputies approached the victim to give aid, but the boy was declared dead on the scene.
Sheriff's officials characterized the gun, which belonged to a friend of Lopez, as replica but it was unclear as of yesterday afternoon it was capable of firing BBs or other ammo. Another plastic hand gun was found in tucked into Lopez's waistband.
Neither deputy was injured in the shooting, and their names are not currently being released. One witness who was driving by at the time stopped to shoot video of the scene right after the shots were fired and heard the deputies telling the boy not to reach for the rifle. The witness quickly left the scene, but his video reportedly shows a body lying on the edge of the sidewalk next to an empty field.
Although Lopez had recently transferred away from Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa, his former classmates mourned their peer along with grief counselors and therapy dogs this morning.
An investigation into the shooting is being handled by the Santa Rosa and Petaluma Police Departments, as well as the District Attorney's office.
The incident was the third officer-involved shooting in the Bay Area in 24 hours.