This past week marked the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy southwest of Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa police, who investigated the shooting, said Gelhaus believed the weapon was real and friends of Andy have said an orange tip on the gun indicating it was fake was either taken or broken off.
In July it was announced that Gehhaus would face no charges and he returned to duty in August.
The Oct. 22, 2013, shooting was a flashpoint that drove people into the streets with repeated cries against discrimination and the heavy hand of police.
The Press Democrat reported earlier this week that residents of the community are still upset.
Angelica Gonzalez, 28, who lives with her family in one of two houses located on the same property, said the shooting has deeply painted her view of law enforcement. Gonzalez said she has a 6-month-old son, and like other mothers she worries about his future in a world where videos and photos of police abuse can be found all over the Internet.
Since the Lopez shooting, she notices more reported instances of police misconduct and unjustified shootings. That awareness has taken its toll, she said.
“We don’t know if we should be scared or simply more careful, and we wonder if they’re really there to protect us,” Gonzalez said, speaking in Spanish.
The county’s lengthy investigation into the shooting left many people in the area disillusioned. “Many people say there is no justice,” she said. “What can one expect if there was no justice?”
The newspaper also reports:
A new law will take effect in 2016 imposing the strictest regulations on BB guns and toy or replica weapons in the country. The law, co-authored by state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, says that those types of guns must be brightly colored or have prominent fluorescent strips to make them easy to distinguish from an actual assault rifle. In Sonoma County, the shooting may have finally paved the way for a civilian review board to look at law enforcement incidents and practices. A panel of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force is preparing a recommendation for the Board of Supervisors next year outlining what form a review board might take.
The name of this beautiful and talented child was and remains Andy Lopez Cruz! And he is not alone. We will fight to achieve justice for him and for all the other fallen. RIP beloved Andy, you will never be forgotten, you are in our minds and hearts every moment of our lives and we will fight until we get you justice.