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Neighborhood struggles to make sense of Santa Rosa boy's shooting

  • A hole remains where investigators removed a bullet from a house near the location where Andy Lopez, 13, was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy on Tuesday. (John Burgess / PD)

Two bullet holes mark a brown fence that borders the southwest Santa Rosa field where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed this week by a sheriff's deputy, reportedly after the deputy mistook the boy's BB gun for an assault rifle.

Above the fence, which is marred by faded gang graffiti, a third bullet hole is on the side of a two-story home where a man answered the door Thursday clutching his 10-month-old son.

The man, a grocery store clerk who declined to give his name, said he came home Tuesday to find a bullet hole in the glass door of a china hutch in his family's kitchen. Another bullet struck a bag of charcoal in his garage.

Santa Rosa Teen Andy Lopez Mourned

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“I was surprised,” the man said.

Shock. Anger. Sadness. All were expressed Thursday by residents who live along this busy thoroughfare in an unincorporated area of Santa Rosa as they struggled to make sense of a boy's death at the hands of a veteran law enforcement officer sworn to protect the community.

People's perceptions of the teen's slaying were colored by their experiences living in the diverse community, their interactions with law enforcement and their memories of the eighth-grader. Several residents said crime is not a particular problem in the area, and that they feel safe being out and about with their children. But sheriff's deputies and their cruisers are still a familiar presence.

The added scrutiny has never been an issue for Sam Hin, whose mother lives in the neighborhood.

“A lot of people say this is not a great neighborhood, but we've never had any problems,” said Hin, who works in human resources at a skilled nursing facility. “It's our home. It's what we're used to.”

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