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Mourners wearing white honor Andy Lopez at visitation service

  • Esmeralda Mendoza, 14, wears a beanie with honoring her classmate Andy Lopez during a funeral service and viewing for Lopez at the Windsor-Healdsburg Mortuary on Sunday. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

A father's wail rose Sunday above the drumbeats in a room full of people come to mourn Andy Lopez, the Santa Rosa middle-schooler shot dead by a sheriff's deputy last week.

“My son, my beautiful son,” cried Rodrigo Lopez during the viewing service held Sunday at a Windsor mortuary and attended by more than 1,000 people.

And a mother's grief kept Sujey Lopez bent over her son's open casket, her arms cradling her son's face for more than eight hours during the day-long visitation.

Andy Lopez Memorial Service

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Andy Lopez was walking on Moorland Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa last Tuesday afternoon carrying a BB gun designed to resemble an AK-47 when he was shot by a deputy who mistook the airsoft gun for an assault rifle.

Investigators said the deputy told them that after he ordered Lopez to drop the weapon, the boy turned toward him and the gun barrel rose, prompting the deputy to fire.

The killing has ignited an outpouring of grief and anger and daily marches that have been equal parts memoriam and protest against the actions of the deputy.

Sunday's scene was one of overwhelming sorrow cloaked in white. Hundreds of mourners had worn that color at the request of Sujey Lopez to, she said, “represent the angel that he is and was.”

Lopez was born in Sonoma County; his parents came to the area about 20 years ago from the northern Mexican state of Sonora.

Described as a handsome fun-loving boy, Lopez grew up in the Moorland Avenue neighborhood in southwest Santa Rosa, attending Bellevue Elementary School and Cook Middle School, where he played trumpet in the band until transferring last week to Lewis Opportunity School.

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