A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by police on Tuesday afternoon after they spotted him carrying a pellet gun that looked like an AK-47 rifle. The two deputies didn’t realize the gun was fake and shot the teen seven times in about 10 seconds because they feared for their lives. The teen, identified as Andy Lopez Cruz, was an eighth grader living near Santa Rosa, California.
According to the report, the teen was told to put the gun down twice before the deputies opened fire. The deputies, who say they didn’t realize how young Andy was, said that the teen turned around and had the barrel of the rifle pointing at them. The pellet gun didn’t have the federally required orange tip that indicates it is fake, so the deputies thought it was real.
Here is the pellet gun that Andy Lopez had:
“He was holding it in his left hand, he turned toward his right, and in doing so moved the gun toward the deputy, and in his mind, he was fearful he would be shot,” said Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry. “The deputy then fired several rounds from his service weapon at the subject, striking him at least one time. The subject immediately fell to the ground.”
According to a neighbor that saw part of the incident, the police officers shot Andy after he was on the ground. The neighbor, Ethan Oliver. went outside after he heard two gunshots. “Then the cops went at it again and unloaded like 6 to 7 shots,” said Oliver. When Oliver was asked if he meant that Andy Lopez was shot after falling to the ground, Oliver said, “Yeah. Exactly what I saw.”
Andy’s family and friends are furious with the police officers for not taking the time to find out that the gun was fake. “He was a great boy, and I treated him like he was my son,” family friend Alma Galvan said. “Why couldn’t the police just shoot him in the hand or at least in the leg? Why did they have to kill him?”
During a news conference police said that it is difficult to tell a real rifle and an air soft rifle (pellet gun) apart. A police officer holds up a real AK-47 rifle and compares it to the pellet gun replica.
“They kinda look the same,” neighbor Christina Avila conceded, “but at the same time if you’re law enforcement your job is to know what’s real and what’s fake.”
Do you think police were in the right to shoot the teen? Respond below.
— Jordan Oster (@joster9) October 24, 2013
Police shoot teen with pellet rifle . Police State " Wake up America " . America 1776 – 1990 Free Country . Currently a Police State
— Outbackpete1968 (@Outbackpete1968) October 24, 2013
[Images via YouTube]