Hundreds of people marched this afternoon from Santa Rosa City Hall along Mendocino Avenue toward the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office 2.5 miles away to protest the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy on Tuesday afternoon. The marchers, almost all of them teens, chanted “Justice for Andy,” “No Justice No Peace”, “Justice Now” and “Andy! Andy! Andy!” They carried many signs, among them “A Badge Is Not A License To Kill,” “Killer Cops Off Our Streets,” “Jail The Killer Cops” and “Land Of The Prosecuted, Home of The Cowards.”
Lopez was shot seven times around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday near a field at the intersection of Moorland and West Robles avenues in unincorporated Sonoma County southwest of Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa police, who are investigating the fatal shooting, said the deputy believed the “Airsoft” replica AK-47 assault rifle that Lopez was carrying in his left hand was authentic. The gun fires plastic BBs instead. Only one of the two deputies who reported a suspicious person to the dispatch center fired his weapon. Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry said the deputy fired eight shots in 10 seconds as Lopez turned toward him when he was ordered to drop the gun. Two of the bullets that struck Lopez inflicted lethal wounds.
A fake plastic handgun also was found in Lopez’s waistband. Assistant Sonoma County Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said the deputy who shot Lopez is a 24-year veteran who has been working as a field training officer since 2007. The other deputy, who has 11 years of law enforcement experience, was in training at the time of the shooting and had transferred from another law enforcement agency in the Bay Area about a month ago, Duenas said.
Duenas said there have been general and direct threats online and through anonymous calls to the deputies, whose names have not been released pending an assessment of the validity of the threats and to protect their safety. He said the deputies’ names might be released within the next week. “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” Duenas said. Before today’s march, there had been two other protest marches in response to the shooting and another is planned for next Tuesday.
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