Santa Rosa Sheriff's deputies killed a 13-year-old boy holding a pellet gun that looked like an AK-47 assault rifle on Tuesday in Santa Rosa, California.
In a press conference the following day, Santa Rosa PD Lieutenant, Paul Henry, said the officers were in the neighborhood when they spotted Andy Lopez, 13, carrying what they thought was a high-powered rifle. The officers called for back-up and according to them, ordered him to drop the weapon. He allegedly turned toward the officers, starting to aim the gun in their direction, and they immediately opened fire. According to bystander, Brian Zastrow, there were seven shots fired.
Andy Lopez was reportedly popular. He played trumpet and was described as an intelligent, well-liked student.
it's no surprise that many Santa Rosa locals were upset, outraged even at the news, but the police defended their actions by pointing to the fact that all they saw was the weapon; they had no clue who was holding it. When it was aimed at them, they fired, fearing for their safety.
Sheriff Steve Freitas sympathized with the parents of Lopez saying, "As a father of two about this age, I can't begin to image the grief this family is going through."
Rodrigo Lopez', the boy's father, said that he last saw his son that morning, telling him what he usually does, "portate bien," Spanish for "be good."
Hopefully, pellet gun manufacturers will take action and care to make their weapons look obviously not dangerous or deadly.