Andy Lopez a 13-year-old California boy who was carrying a replica assault rifle was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies who thought the gun was real, local media reported on Wednesday.
Two deputies were patrolling in Santa Rosa, which is about 55 miles north of San Francisco, when they saw Lopez near the intersection of Moorland and West Robles avenues at 3 p.m. holding what appeared to be some type of rifle.
“The two deputies repeatedly ordered the subject to drop the rifle and at some point immediately thereafter, the deputies fired several rounds from their handguns at the subject striking him several times,” the department said. “The subject fell to the ground and landed on top of the rifle he was carrying.”
The replica gun resembled an AK-47 with a black magazine cartridge and brown butt, according to a photograph released by the sheriff’s office.
After securing the area, deputies realized that the weapon was a replica, the press release stated. They also found a plastic handgun. Andy Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene.
As standard procedure, the two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. Officials also reported the incident is being investigated by the Santa Rosa Police Department as well as other law enforcement agencies.
“The public expects that the investigation will be thorough and transparent. As sheriff, I will do all in my power to see that expectation is satisfied,” Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said.
“As a father of two boys about this age, I can’t begin to imagine the grief this family is going through,” Freitas said. “This is a tragedy on many levels … for the terrible loss of Andy Lopez, his family, the family’s loved ones, friends, our community, and the members of the Sheriff’s Office.”
“The Sheriff’s Office is fully cooperating with the investigation being conducted by the Santa Rosa Police Department, Petaluma Police Department, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office and we will continue to do so for the duration of the investigation,” Freitas said. “My hope is that we can work with the community to help prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future.”
Andy Lopez was an eighth-grader at Lawrence Cook Middle School, where assistant principal Linsey Gannon told the Associated Press he played trumpet in the band.
“Andy was a very loved student, a very popular, very handsome young man, very smart and capable,'” she said Wednesday. “Our community has been rocked by his loss.”
This shooting happens a day after a 12-year-old boy killed a teacher at Sparks middle school in Nevada with a gun he also used to take his own life.