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FBI to probe deputy shooting of boy with fake assault rifle

October 25, 2013|By a Times Staff Writer
  • This combination of photos provided by the family via The Press Democrat and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department shows an undated photo of 13-year-old Andy Lopez and the replica assault rifle he was holding when he was shot and killed by two Sonoma County deputies in Santa Rosa.
This combination of photos provided by the family via The Press Democrat… (Associated Press )

The FBI will conduct an independent probe into the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy carrying a replica assault rifle by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy, officials said Friday.

Andy Lopez was shot seven times on a Santa Rosa sidewalk Tuesday by a deputy who said he thought the boy’s fake weapon was a real AK-47 assault rifle.

“The Sheriff will cooperate fully with the FBI and welcomes their participation,” Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said in an email statement, according to NBC Bay Area.

Andy was shot seven times, according to a preliminary coroner's report. Two of the rounds that struck him were fatal. One hit his right hip and the other struck the right side of his chest, the report by the Sonoma County coroner's office found.

Other bullets hit Andy's right wrist, left biceps, right forearm, right buttocks and right hip, the report said. Three of the bullets were recovered in his body.

Investigators believe a total of eight rounds were fired after deputies responded Tuesday afternoon to a report of a "suspicious person" in a southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood, law enforcement authorities said.

“The deputy's mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry told reporters.

Andy, a Santa Rosa eighth-grader, was walking through the area at Moorland and West Robles avenues with the pellet gun when he was spotted about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday by two deputies on routine patrol, according to Santa Rosa police, who are investigating the shooting.

The teen had his back to the two deputies, Henry said.

The deputies stopped, took cover behind the doors of their patrol car and ordered him to drop the weapon, according to Henry.

Andy was 20 to 30 feet away, he said, adding that the deputies did not realize he was just a boy.

The deputy who opened fire believed the AK-47-styled pellet gun “was an authentic weapon,” according to Henry.

“He has quite a bit of experience with this kind of weapon," Henry said of the deputy. "He's aware of the kind of damage these kinds of weapons can do.”


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