The FBI will conduct an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy by a sheriff’s deputy in southwest Santa Rosa Tuesday, Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said this afternoon. The investigation will be entirely independent of the investigations into the shooting death of Andy Lopez Cruz that are being conducted by the Petaluma and Santa Rosa police departments and the county district attorney’s office, Freitas said. Freitas said the FBI contacted his office about doing its own independent investigation.
“They do this in high-profile cases. It’s not unusual,” Freitas said. Lopez was shot near a field at the intersection of Moorland and West Robles avenues Tuesday afternoon by a deputy who thought he was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. He died at the scene not far from his home. Friends said he was returning the rifle to a friend. The rifle was an “Airsoft” replica of an AK-47 that fires plastic BBs, and a handgun found in Lopez’s waistband after he was shot was a plastic replica handgun. The rifle did not have an orange tip on the barrel indicating it was not an authentic weapon but the handgun did have the tip, police said. The deputy, a 24-year veteran, ordered Lopez to drop the gun twice, and Lopez was shot when the barrel of the rifle rose upward toward the deputy when Lopez turned around, according to Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry.
The deputy fired eight times at Lopez within 10 seconds of the deputies informing the sheriff’s dispatch center about a suspicious person. An autopsy determined there were seven entry wounds on Lopez’s body and two of the bullets were fatal. Three bullets were found in Lopez’s body and four were recovered at the scene, according to the autopsy. During a march by hundreds of people, mostly teens, that ended at the sheriff’s office in Santa Rosa this afternoon, protesters called for the firing of the deputy who killed Lopez and an independent investigation of incident. Only one of the deputies fired his weapon. The names of the deputies, who are on paid administrative leave, have not been released because of threats received by the sheriff’s office, Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said.
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