The U.S. Department of Justice won’t file criminal charges against Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus, who fatally shot 13-year-old Andy Lopez in 2013, the sheriff's department said on Wednesday.
"The FBI investigation, which was reviewed by the United States Department of Justice, concluded that there were no federal civil rights violations," the Sonoma sheriff's department wrote in a statement. "The Sheriff reaffirms his support and confidence in Deputy Gelhaus and the work done by the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office to provide public safety services to the citizens of Sonoma County."The Justice Department said its investigation turned up "insufficient evidence" to charge Gelhaus with federal civil rights violations, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Gelhaus fired eight rounds at Lopez, who was holding a replica AK-47 rifle. Lopez was hit by seven of the bullets.
Supporters of Lopez’s family say they’re disappointed but not surprised.
"We’re not going to get real justice in this case," said Santa Rosa Attorney Izaak Schwaiger. "We won’t. We won’t. There’s a child who is dead. And regardless of your political affiliations or where you stand, that’s a tragedy at best and it’s murder at worst."