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Extra Letters: Reactions to shooting of 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy

  • Sujey Lopez and her husband, Rodrigo Lopez, mourn by a memorial set up at the site where their 13-year-old son, Andy Lopez, was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

Police encounters

EDITOR: I read with horror the story of the 13-year-old shot and killed by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies (“Deputies kill SR boy, 13,” Wednesday). The gun did look real, and the officers, I am sure, shouted a warning, but the boy may have panicked, been too frightened to respond, not understood or simply been confused because he knew the gun was not real.

My son is an autistic adult, totally harmless, defenseless as far as confrontations. He did not respond to police in Roseland and ended up beaten up and sedated because he did not respond to “Stop.”

March, Vigil For Andy Lopez 10.24.13


He is a gentle giant, 240 pounds and 6-foot-3, but socially inept and verbally impaired. He did not do anything wrong other than not heed their warning to stop. Fortunately, he had no pretend weapons.

As our society grows, it is necessary for all of our law enforcement officers to be trained to handle not just hardened criminals but mentally challenged, young, stupid and other people who do not respond in an appropriate manner.



Another victim

EDITOR: I opened The Press Democrat on Thursday and had already prepared myself to read about the officer-involved shooting. Our hearts go out to the Lopez family as losing a child is something we simply cannot imagine. We have already started seeing the community rally for answers.

While this is understandable, I would beg this same community for patience and compassion. We do not know the facts, and we should not forget that another individual has been impacted in all if this. The deputy sheriff who felt the need to pull the trigger of his/her gun has to live with his/her actions forever. We don't know anything about this deputy, his or her tenure or experience.

I certainly cannot speak to intent, policy or judgment in this case. I do, however, know that none of the people casting immediate judgment were involved in this situation. I can also assume that most of us have not experienced a situation where we have to determine the appropriate use of force to defend our life or the life of people in our community.

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