Donate

More Than 1,000 Attend Andy Lopez Protest Rally in Santa Rosa

| October 29, 2013
  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email
Pallbearers, many of whom were classmates of Andy Lopez, carry the casket at his funeral. (Rachel Dornhelm / KQED)

Pallbearers, many of whom were classmates of Andy Lopez, carry the casket at his funeral. (Rachel Dornhelm / KQED)

Update, 5:35 p.m.

The Associated Press is reporting that more than 1,000 people marched at the rally this afternoon in Santa Rosa to protest the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

The protesters, including middle- and high-school-age students and members of the Occupy movement, assembled in downtown Santa Rosa before marching through streets with signs and hooded sweatshirts bearing photos of the boy.

“Andy Lopez did not have to die,” they chanted during the nearly three-hour, mostly peaceful demonstration. No arrests were made.

The protest was large for Santa Rosa, Paul Gullixson, editorial director of the Press Democrat, told KQED’s Mina Kim.

“I’ve just never seen anything like that. But I think the frustration, the emotion is really high,” Gullixson said. “They’re just trying to get their heads around what it was that motivated this deputy to fire the shots.”

Andy’s memorial service began at 5 p.m. at the Resurrection Parish Church in Santa Rosa. The church, which can hold 600, had an overflow crowd. The service was led by Associate Pastor Jose Gonzalez.

The Oct. 22 shooting of Lopez, by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus, sparked community outrage and an FBI investigation.

According to the AP, Gelhaus is a “firearms instructor who authorities said mistook a pellet gun carried by Lopez for an assault rifle.

Investigators say the hoodie-wearing teen didn’t comply with commands to drop the gun and was turning toward deputies while raising the barrel when he was shot seven times.

“In the state of California we have a lot of laws that cover the protection of privacy of police officers and as a result of that, a lot of these complaints about police conduct, full reports are rarely made public,” Gullixon said. “The question is ultimately what will come of that and how much will people know of what actually transpired.”

Marchers at the rally protesting the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez today in Santa Rosa. (Rachel Dornhelm / KQED)

Marchers at the rally protesting the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez today in Santa Rosa. (Rachel Dornhelm / KQED)

The rally was “emotional, there was real pain,” but peaceful, according to KQED reporter Rachel Dornhelm. The Bay City News reported that at the rally, “at least a dozen deputies wearing riot helmets were standing behind the barricade. About 10 others were on the roof of the building, watching the crowd with binoculars. Another deputy was filming the protesters.”

The AP spoke to several students in the march:

Victor Manieri, 15, a freshman at Elsie Allen High School, left school early to join the march. He said he knew Andy and wanted to show his support for Andy’s family.

“I disagree with what that cop did that day,” Manieri said. “There are other methods such as using a Taser that would paralyze him, not take away his life.”

Mitzi Reyes, 16, a junior at Elsie Allen, marched with her mother and two younger brothers. They also knew Andy and his family.

“I’m here today because I want to get justice not only for Andy but for other people that have died for no reason,” she said.

KQED’s Mina Kim spoke to Gullixson about local reaction to the shooting.

Live coverage from Bay Area reporters:

From yesterday’s Press Democrat:

The outcry over the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez is expected to reach a new level Tuesday, when activists from well beyond Sonoma County and the Bay Area will join local supporters of the Lopez family in a march on the Sheriff’s Office.

County offices, the courthouse and City Hall will all close at lunchtime Tuesday as local officials brace for the largest demonstration yet since the Oct. 22 shooting.

KRON 4 reports that Santa Rosa school officials, as well as school district administrators and elected school board members, urged students to stay in class during the protest march.

Here’s a Storify from KRON 4:

Related

Explore: , ,

Category: Law

  • Share:
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Email
  • joseph

    If all the parents attending this event, including that of Andy Lopez, put half the effort they used to get there into teaching their childrenproper gun safety, we wouldn’t have this issue. A BB gun is still a gun, and there is no reason any differently.
    Shame on you Mr. and Mrs. Lopez.
    When the officer asked him to set the gun down the first time, he should have. The Second time, he really shouldv’e listened. And when he decided to turn around raising the gun towards the deputies, he did listen to the consequences. A tragedy, yes. But not the sheriff’s fault.
    I like these signs that say, ” Since when is a BB gun a death sentence?”

    Well kids, when you point them at someone with a real gun.
    And shame on you Wysocky. Guess you weren’t planning on getting re-ellected.

    • Jill

      I agree that safety should be taught but how does that relate to a child getting gunned down, shot in the back,within 10 seconds of being seen by the cops? Where do you get off “shaming” grieving parents you arrogant creep. When I was a girl, boys got their asses chewed by cops for this behavior, they were given a ride home and their folks were informed of the infraction with little more than a bit of a scare in the kid. His back was to the cops and he had earphones on. as he turned to see who was yelling at him, they dropped him, then continued shooting after he was down. then handcuffed him, not rendering any aid for five minutes as he died.

      • Jason M

        So if someone starts turning towards you with what looks like an AK-47, exactly how long of an opportunity are you supposed to give them to shoot you?

        When you were a girl, the boys didn’t have toy guns made to look as realistic as possible. And in reality, they still occasionally got shot…

      • Jordan Shay

        Jill,
        Autopsy results show that Andy Garcia was not shot in the back. He was shot in the side as he was turning towards officers. Look it up. All accounts from all sources say that he was not wearing headphone. Check your facts.

    • Phx Steelerfan

      Joseph, you’re an idiot. The Lopez family just lost their baby, no need to pile on. I hope this never happens to you. The boy was 13 and made a mistake…he didn’t have to pay with his life. My question is is this what this instructor is teaching the new cops!!

    • David Phillips

      Nothing was pointed at the Police at all. The coward shot him because he “feared” that he was “about” to point the gun.

      • Jason M

        So if someone starts turning towards you with what looks like an AK-47, exactly how long of an opportunity are you supposed to give them to shoot you?

        • David Phillips

          I wouldn’t walk up behind somebody and not expect them to turn toward me if I hollered at them. Most folks don’t have eyes in the back of their head and will probably turn around to assess their surroundings.

          Maybe the cop should have kept some distance and called out via the loudspeaker first before charging up from behind and instigating a Wild West shoot-out.

          • bgal4

            go become a cop fool before you try and revise professional police practices arrived at over decades of knowledge and research.

          • Jordan Shay

            An AK-47 has a range of 400 yards David. How far would you recommend for them to stay back? Andy Lopez was not only told that the police were behind him, but the officers chirped their siren, which they do to identify themselves during a traffic stop. They did not walk up behind him, or charge up from behind him.

      • Jordan Shay

        Autopsy results confirm that Andy Lopez was in the act of turning his body and the weapon towards officers. Officers are not trained to wait until someone points a weapon directly at them. They are trained to shoot when people not only refuse to comply with orders to drop what appear to be weapons, but begin to turn a weapon towards them. It has always been this way, and for good reason.

    • magiie

      Shame on idiots like you

  • Sam

    Right. Joseph has a clear understanding of our Bill of Rights and Responsibilities!

  • kevin

    SHAME ON YOU JOSEPH!!!!!!!

  • D in IDAHO

    Cops have many hours of practice with their guns. They are trained to hit their target….. they are skilled enough to know that they could shoot in the leg or somewhere that would not kill a child. I am a firm believer in NO GUNS but… Let’s get real here people. Cops need to stop killing our children. PERIOD!

    • David Phillips

      They do not train to shoot legs. They train to kill. Especially this cop – a true professional killer with a real fascination with deadly force if you have read his online machinations.

      • Jason M

        They don’t train to kill actually. They train to stop the threat as quickly as possible, and to shoot at the center of mass since it’s the easiest target to hit. The usually-fatal nature of this is an unfortunate side-effect, by necessity not design.

        • David Phillips

          Shooting for center of mass is shooting to kill. Always amuses me when you guys bust out your doublespeak “neutralize the threat”. Why not just say it for what it is?

          • Max

            They 100% shoot to kill, as they should. The only reason a cop (or anyone for that matter) should fire a firearm at someone is if they have reasons to believe their life is in immediate danger. In that case, you need to prevent the person from hurting you, which means you need to kill them as quickly as possible.

          • Jordan Shay

            Shooting for the center of mass is not shooting to kill. Many people survive shots to the center of mass. Most of the officers rounds did not hit the center of mass, even though he was trained to shoot center of mass. It is trained this way because if a person aims for the center of mass, they are more likely to actually hit the person somewhere.

      • Jordan Shay

        David,
        You know better than to say that law enforcement officers are trained to kill. Please show any evidence in any manual or training center that uses this language. You already know the answer.

    • Jason M

      Small problem: the leg is a smaller, easier to miss target. Do you know why they train to shoot for the center of mass (the chest)? Because it’s the biggest, easiest to hit target, especially under duress.

      Having cops aim for the leg only works in movies, and in the real world would result in (even more) innocent bystanders getting hit.

    • Jordan Shay

      D,
      This is false. Officers are not trained to shoot at arms or legs. No law enforcement training is designed this way because arms and legs cannot be realistically hit on a moving target at 30 feet. If you had any understanding of firearms or training in this area, you would know this.

  • belk

    As a wife of a once patrol office with two children at home, I would hope when he would protect his own life when threatened with was seen to be a real gun. Many 13 year olds, even though the police could not tell his age, commit violent crimes. Why is there no mention of the hand gun that Andy had tucked into his waist band which also looked real. He wanted to appear like he had real guns and thats why he did not have the orange ends on them. His parents said they worried about it but let it go. My own son had wanted to paint the orange to black on his airsoft gun to make it look real. I told him no way because it would real to police officers. We cannot tell police officers to wait till they shoot you before you do something because the gun might be not be real. We would be leaving a lot of law enforcement officers children without a parent. It is truly sad that this boy lost his life, but I see no wrong doing by the officer. Put the gun down when asked.

    • David Phillips

      No mention of the “handgun” because it had nothing to do with anything. The only people bringing it up are you clowns trying to make the kid look like a gang-banger when all he was doing was what many other 13 year old kids do with airsoft guns.

      Tell the idiot cops to identify themselves before opening fire next time rather than sneaking up behind, yelling, and then shooting at the person for turning around to see who was making a bunch of noise behind them. For all they know, some kid just found a real AK lying on the road and is trying to turn it in.

      • Jordan Shay

        The handgun was not significant in the shooting, but the realistic AK-47 was. Other kids do not carry realistic looking assault rifles down the street openly. I have never seen anyone doing this, have you? The officers identified themselves by chirping their siren as they do in all traffic stops. Ismael Mondragon has made statements to police and the media that he pulled his car up to Andy Lopez and told him that the police were right behind him. Andy knew who was ordering him to drop his weapon. They did not sneak up behind him. And if anyone, of any age or ethnicity finds a real AK-47 on the road and begins to turn the weapon towards officers after they have been told to drop it, they will probably be shot. This is how all law enforcement officer are trained, and for good reason.

    • sonja

      IT WAS A CLEAR PLASTIC AIRSOFT GUN IDIOT!

      • Larry

        It was not clear. It was a replica. The only marking on the gun that marked it as a replica and not a real gun was the orange plastic end cap which the boy chose to take off.

      • bgal4

        It is illegal for a 13 year old purchase, brandish, carry in public a replica gun. Stop coddling youth, explain truthfully for HIGH risk behaviors means and how tragedy can easily result.

      • Jordan Shay

        Before you call someone an idiot. Please take a look at the picture of the rifle. It was designed to look like a real AK-47.
        http://ww2.hdnux.com/photos/24/34/50/5360153/3/628×471.jpg

    • expatpatriot

      Two words: Seven Shots.

  • LauraD916

    Justice for Andy!

  • Bolo

    Walk around with a lookalike AK-47 and
    people are suprised at the outcome?
    Amazing

    • dp

      Stupid parents spill stupidity into their kids. What was compelling to have a replica of AK-47 with orange removed? Juveniles are mimicking what they see on TV and in movies. They do not differentiate between real and imaginary world. Irresponsible parents have no idea of consequences from audio- visuals on immature minds. Even you are saint from inside you cannot have terrorist outfits in public or at airports. Make parents responsible for this, put them in jail so that less number of tragedies like this will happen in the future. The Columbine teen’s parent did not take responsibility for massacre since he did not know (!!!) what his son was doing in his own garage. People who are unable to monitor their children’s irresponsible behavior should refrain from bringing children on earth.

  • Skip Conrad

    Maybe Andy doesn’t speak English? Is Andy fluent in English and comprehend English? Weird situation.

    • Jordan Shay

      Andy was raised here, and attended English speaking schools. He spoke English fluently, and was not wearing headphones. He attended Cook Middle School this year until he was expelled.

      • Kurt thialfad

        So he wasn’t born in the US. Interesting!
        Why was he expelled? Interesting, as well.

        • Jordan Shay

          Kurt,
          I did not say that he wasn’t born here. Please read my statement. He was also sent home from the school that he was attending for not coming back to class on time on the day of the shooting.

          • Skip Conrad

            So where was he born?
            Are you saying he was expelled on the day he died?

          • Jordan Shay

            I do not know where he was born.
            He was expelled from Cook Middle School, and began going to a different school which has not been named as far as I have been able to tell. He was sent home from the second school on the day he was shot for not returning to class when he was supposed to.
            The reuters news article can be found here.
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/us-usa-california-shooting-idUSBRE99N02320131024

  • JB fairness

    three witnesses now differ from deputy’s. The truth is showing. Witness One said: officers continued to shoot Lopez after he dropped to the ground. An autopsy report confirm Oliver’s claim. The report says Lopez’s body had seven wounds, two fatal. Second: Two other witnesses say officers shouted at Lopez from inside the car and told him to drop the gun. 10 seconds later, officers exit car, crouched behind the car’s open doors, fired shots at Lopez. Eyewitness account differs from report of the Sonoma Sheriff’s Department, which says that officers exited their car and shouted multiple warnings at Lopez before opening fire. Third, a spoksman at the press conference speaking on behalf of the deputy that fired the shots contradict the deputy’s intent, which raises credibility of inconsistency within their own dept. The press conference quoted deputy: “I was in fear for my life,partners and fear of neighbors’ lives.” If that’s true, then why were the Leo’s stray bullets hitting a home where a father and infant were staying? Without dash cam, who can really know, except the deputies and the witnesses, if the barrel of the toy weapon WAS “veering toward the deputy” in a manner that would cause a reasonable person, fear of his life, to start firing away at Andy, which is the key question, and last piece in the puzzle. “Fear for my life” is also a “Catch All”defense tool that will always win in court for the officer involved killings, no questions asked.

    • Jordan Shay

      Officers have not said that they didn’t shoot Andy Lopez after he fell. This account does not conflict with the officers statements. Multiple eyewitnesses have said that only one officer got out of the vehicle and yelled at Andy to drop his weapon. The Sheriffs Office has not contradicted the statements of Officer Gelhaus. The officer has consistently stated that he feared for his life, his partners, and the community. Seven of the eight shots hit Andy Lopez, so all but one round that penetrated anything else had to have gone through his body and continued. Why would an officer not fear for his life if a person ignored commands to drop the weapon, but instead begins to turn that weapon towards them instead. I would fear for my life. Questions are and will be asked, and this investigation is being carried out by 5 agencies now. It will go on for months, if not years. Eyewitnesses and autopsy results are coming together to corroborate the officers account. Just read the articles.

  • Arlen Bauer

    Go to youtube “Proof America is under police siege. Protect and serve is a lie” and see how the Santa Rosa Ca. police treated another citizen. Andy Lopez is just the beginning.

    • Jordan Shay

      This shooting was not done by Santa Rosa Police. It was done by Sonoma County Sheriffs.

      • Arlen Bauer

        What is the difference ? They all work together to patrol Santa Rosa.

        • Jordan Shay

          The difference is that they work for different agencies, and the Sonoma County Sheriffs work in many other places than Santa Rosa. They have different rules and protocols, as well as many other differences. The Sheriffs Dept. often does not patrol Santa Rosa except in unincorporated areas.

    • Tiffany White