The Sonoma County Deputy that last year shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez—who was carrying a replica AK-47 mistaken for an assault rifle—will not face criminal charges.
At a press conference on Monday, July 7, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Deputy Erick Gelhaus "was faced with a highly unpredictable and rapidly evolving situation," according to the Associated Press. "He believed honestly and reasonably that he was faced with a do-or-die dilemma," Ravitch said.
Gelhaus shot Lopez seven times, after telling him to drop the gun and the teen instead responded by starting to turn around. The Press Democrat states that blood samples taken from Lopez's autopsy revealed significant levels of THC, which likely affected his mental processing time. The teen died on the scene in a field near his home.
A spokesperson for Lopez's parents issued a statement following the decision that said they felt "as though Andy had been killed again."
The incident on October 22, 2013 sparked protests and outrage among community leaders and Latinos in the unincorporated Roseland neighborhood south of Santa Rosa, where the shooting took place.
Many were expecting this decision, especially after the DA's office accidentally issued a draft press release stating that Gelhaus would not be charged. According to the Chronicle, in the past 25 years, among 10 similar shootings in which the victim was carrying a toy gun, not one resulted in criminal charges.
Justice For Andy Lopez and other community organizations have scheduled rallies for Tuesday, July 8 at 1 p.m. at the Sonoma County Superior Courthouse in Santa Rosa and Saturday, July 12 at 1 p.m. at the Old Courthouse Square in Downtown Santa Rosa.
Previously: Protesters March In Support Of Andy Lopez, Boy Killed By Sheriff's Deputy