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Large, peaceful protest of Andy Lopez killing winds through Santa Rosa

  • Marchers young and old parade down Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa, California on their way to the Sonoma County Sheriffs' Office to protest the shooting death of Andy Lopez, the 13-year-old boy gunned down by Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus on Tuesday. October 29, 2013. (Erik Castro/for the Press Democrat.)

Hundreds of teens shouting slogans and waving signs marched again Tuesday to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, where they were met by deputies clad in riot gear amid concerns the latest protest over the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez could get out of hand.

But the crowd, estimated between 800 and 1,500 people, did not resort to violence and there were no reports of arrests or vandalism.

Demonstrators are organizing another march for Wednesday night — the fifth in eight days. The protest is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in Roseland, then proceed to Old Courthouse Square for a rally in downtown Santa Rosa.

Protest Over Andy Lopez Killing 10.29.13


Unlike earlier demonstrations, Tuesday's march down Mendocino Avenue drew activists from outside Sonoma County. Several government offices and businesses closed, and the Santa Rosa City Council meeting was canceled Tuesday to ensure the safety of city employees.

Cook Middle School classmates Alejandra Lopez, 13, and Jasmine Najera, 12, pressed against metal barricades Tuesday afternoon outside the sheriff's Ventura Avenue headquarters and shouted at a deputy who sported a helmet and a holstered gun and baton.

“We want to let the cops know that he wasn't supposed to die,” said Lopez, who was friends with the slain teen.

One week earlier, at almost the identical time of day, sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus shot and killed Lopez on a sidewalk in southwest Santa Rosa. The teen was carrying an airsoft gun, which shoots plastic BBs. Police said the deputy mistook the gun for an AK-47 assault rifle.

Protesters said criminal charges should be levied against the deputy.

“This officer should be prosecuted for murder,” said John Burris, one of the Oakland attorneys who negotiated a $1.5 million settlement for the family of Oscar Grant, the man killed in a 2009 shooting by a BART police officer.

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