This combination of photos provided by the family via The Press Democrat and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department shows an undated photo of 13-year-old Andy Lopez and the replica assault rifle he was holding when he was shot and killed by two Sonoma County deputies in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Family via The Press Democrat, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department)
by Paul Elias
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of a popular 13-year-old boy by a sheriff’s deputy in Northern California.
Sheriff Steve Freitas said in a statement Friday afternoon that he will cooperate fully with federal investigators and welcomes their participation in the probe of Andy Lopez’s killing on Tuesday afternoon. The shooting has generated numerous protests and marches in the suburban town of Santa Rosa, with many residents questioning the deputy’s decision to fire on the youth.
Freitas also expressed sympathy to the Lopez family and thanked the Santa Rosa community for keeping protests peaceful.
Police say Lopez was carrying a pellet gun that looked like an AK-47 assault rifle.
A timeline released Thursday by the Santa Rosa police shows that only 10 seconds passed from the moment that the sheriff’s deputy and his partner called dispatch to report a suspicious person to the moment they called back to say shots had been fired.
FBI spokesman Paul Lee said he did not know why his agency decided to get involved or whether local authorities had requested its help.
More than 100 angry middle and high school students walked to City Hall on Friday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Hundreds of people protested earlier in the week.
City police and the Sonoma County district attorney’s office are also investigating.
The Santa Rosa Police Department said two deputies in a squad car encountered the hoodie-wearing Lopez just after 3:14 p.m.
Witnesses say at least one of the deputies took cover behind an open front door of the cruiser, and one yelled twice “drop the gun.”