Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez’s death has sparked demonstrations and vigils across Sonoma County, Calif., as details emerge surrounding the police shooting. According to eyewitness accounts, Lopez, who was carrying a toy assault rifle, was only verbally warned once before deputy Erick Gelhaus, 48, opened fire. NBC Bay Area reports Gelhaus has substantial weapons training.
The Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who fired the shots that killed a 13-year-old boy carrying a replica assault rifle last week is a firearms expert, Iraq War veteran, and a regular contributor to magazines and blogs, where in one article, he wrote about needing to have a “mean gene” to stay alive in the “kill zone.”
Police reports also revealed that only 10 seconds elapsed between the deputy’s initial call regarding a suspect and when they opened fire. The FBI has launched an independent investigation into the Lopez case, which the local police chief says they will cooperate with fully.