Also on KQED's News Fix: Coroner: Deputy Shot Santa Rosa Teenager Seven Times
Update, 8:45 a.m. Thursday: The fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old in Santa Rosa earlier this week prompted hundreds of people to protest Wednesday night. Here's the Santa Rosa Press Democrat account:
A Sonoma County sheriff's deputy's fatal shooting of a Santa Rosa eighth-grader Tuesday sent several hundred people to streets Wednesday night to mourn and demand answers as to how deputies mistook a BB gun for an AK-47-style assault rifle.
A march of families and neighbors moved down Corby and Moorland avenues toward the site where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed, chanting “We need justice” as passing cars honked.
“We don't know the reason why they killed him; they should know if a gun is real,” said one marcher, Katia Ontiveros, 18, who said Lopez was her brother's friend.
Update, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday: At a press conference at Santa Rosa's Finley Community Center this afternoon, new details were released about the Tuesday shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies.
Lt. Paul Henry of the Santa Rosa Police Department, which is handling the investigation, displayed the "toy" or "replica" gun Andy was holding alongside a real AK-47 assault rifle. According to Bay City News, Henry said "Andy's gun had a thinner barrel that was 6 to 8 inches shorter than the real rifle and was colored differently but was missing the orange plastic tip that typical differentiates a fake gun from a real one."
The Press Democrat describes the toy and real weapons as being "remarkably similar," but adds:
... In the light of the Finley Center the model Lopez carried was clearly plastic with a transparent center section. The BB gun also had a shorter barrel. Henry noted that the orange or red tip often found on toy guns appeared to be missing from the model Lopez carried.
The BCN report continues:
After spotting Andy and stopping their marked patrol car with the top rotating lights activated about 20 to 30 feet from him, the deputies called for backup, sheltered behind the open car door and ordered Andy to "put the gun down," Henry said.
Andy, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and shorts, was walking with his back to the two deputies. After they yelled the order, he started turning around and as he did one of the deputies said he saw the barrel of the gun rising and turning toward him, according to Henry.
The deputy, fearing for his safety and knowing that style of gun could penetrate body armor, the metal exterior of the patrol car and the walls of the houses nearby, fired several rounds at Andy, striking him at least once, Henry said.
Andy immediately fell to the ground. The deputies approached him and handcuffed him and realized he was unresponsive.
Law-enforcement agencies are investigating a Tuesday afternoon shooting on the outskirts of Santa Rosa in which two Sonoma County sheriff's deputies shot and killed an eighth-grader carrying what's being described as a "toy" or "replica" version of an AK-47 assault rifle.