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Hundreds protest deputy's fatal shooting of Santa Rosa teen

  • Students from Elsie Allen High School and Lawrence Cook Middle School march Wednesday toward the site where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy near the corner of Moorland and West Robles avenues in Santa Rosa. (Conner Jay / PD)

A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy's fatal shooting of a Santa Rosa eighth-grader Tuesday sent several hundred people to streets Wednesday night to mourn and demand answers as to how deputies mistook a BB gun for an AK-47-style assault rifle.

A march of families and neighbors moved down Corby and Moorland avenues toward the site where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed, chanting “We need justice” as passing cars honked.

“We don't know the reason why they killed him; they should know if a gun is real,” said one marcher, Katia Ontiveros, 18, who said Lopez was her brother's friend.

March, Vigil For Andy Lopez 10.23.13

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As the southwest Santa Rosa community awoke Wednesday to the stark reality of a young life lost, Santa Rosa police officers tasked with investigating the deputy-involved shooting began piecing together the series of events that led to the fatal encounter.

Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry gave an initial outline of the encounter to a roomful of reporters at the Finley Community Center on Wednesday afternoon. He also focused his remarks on the dangerous likeness between the airsoft gun and the assault-style weapon after which it's modeled.

“The deputy's mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” said Henry, whose department is investigating the shooting.

The BB gun, designed to closely resemble its deadly cousin, was in Lopez's hand when two Sonoma County sheriff's deputies on routine patrol spotted the youth walking Tuesday afternoon on Moorland Avenue, Henry said.

The deputies pulled up behind Lopez, got out and called out to the boy to drop the gun, with their weapons drawn and from the cover of their open doors, he said.

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