California deputy who shot teen with BB gun returns to work

December 9, 2013

ToyGunThe Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a Santa Rosa teen carrying a BB gun in October will return to work this week. [NBC Bay Area]

Deputy Erick Gelhaus shot Andy Lopez, 13, seven times in a Santa Rosa field on October 22. Lopez was carrying a replica AK-47 BB gun at the time.

Gelhaus mistook the replica gun for a real AK-47, according to the deputy’s attorney.

Gelhaus has been on leave since the shooting, but he will report to desk duty this week.

An FBI investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and Lopez’s family has filed a civil rights lawsuit.

A protest at the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department is scheduled for Tuesday.

Since the shooting, a group of legislators has called for banning certain toy guns.


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It wasn’t a BB gun at all. The media screws things up so badly…


You write, “From the article posted here that I read, I gathered that the kid was big enough to possibly be an adult and that the hoodie he was wearing made it impossible to quickly note otherwise from simple observation. When ordered by the cop to stop and drop the weapon, he instead started to turn to face the cop with the weapon in his hand.”

And just how did you come to those conclusions from the very brief report posted by CCN above?! My gawd, your misperceptions are disturbing. You are also wordy.

News report says 10 seconds transpired between intial contact and when this KID was murdered (sheriffs dept. records). 10 seconds?!!! Sounds like this CHILD was guilty of being a Hispanic in a hoody…

Just sayin’….

Pasodowny, had the young man done as the officer ordered him to do im sure the ciircumstances would have turned out different, the big problem with most of todays youth is they have no respect for authority, and it shows , just watch the kids at the store , when they dont get there way . the PD will protect their officers and the policy will rule what happens , so we will see what happens , but like SLOBIRD said you better not walk out in public with a TOY gun .

You have no idea if the kid had respect for authority or not. None! You are ignorantly maligning this kid, to what end I don’t know.

You say that I (and presumably anyone else) should not walk out in public with a toy gun. I guess you’re implying that if I’m shot dead by cops for doing so, I had it coming and so does anyone else doing the same. Really?! I wish you would follow the bouncing ball of your logic and see where it goes flat.

What you are really advocating for (and I’m sure you don’t realize it and would stridently object to it once it dawns on you) is the prohibition of the distribution and selling of toy guns.

Wow! Take a stopwatch and click off 10 seconds then maybe you’ll see this in a different light! A 20 somethin’ year vet’ should have been been a little slower with his trigger finger. One more thing; there are two women who witnessed this murder and what they have to say is compelling. Another witness is saying the deputy never gave the CHILD a chance to respond before opening fire. 7 shots were fired, 6 of which hit this CHILD, 2 of which were fatal… Always better to kill the person you shoot; they can’t tell their side of the story that way.

Just sayin’…


Step away from your keyboard for a moment, now take out your watch, or get a stopwatch, and let 10 seconds click off; pretty dam fast don’t ya think?!! Now mix that in with lights flashing in your eyes, some guy yelling at you about something you’re not sure about and the natural reaction to turn to whom ever it is that’s yelling at you? Can’t you see where 10 seconds is not even close to what a 20 something year vet’ of a law enforcement agency should let transpire before getting off 7 to 9 shots (6 of which hit the CHILD, 2 of which were fatal)? His partner didn’t even have time to exit the car from his drivers seat to take cover before Wyatt Earp let the bullets fly!

What really ticks me off about this whole thing is that the department he works for lets this deputy back to work while an ongoing FBI investigation is transpiring; no wonder the community is upset.

Just sayin’….

Headline alert: The deputy did not use a BB gun to shoot the teen.

If a plastic knife was held to my neck, I would have to protect myself first and then sort out the brand later. Tragic but certainly a correct response and a lesson to be exploited not new legislation.

What law was the kid breaking.

Wow. Just saw pictures of a replica AK47 BB gun. I’ve owned AK Variants before and I would not be able to tell the difference between the BB gun and the real thing. Truly a tragic story.

p.s Wish the photo used in this article was a picture of the BB gun.

I thought the first thing you teach children when playing with PLAY GUNS is never point at a gun at anyone. Take responsible and never point a gun at anyone, at anytime, for any reason. I feel bad for all involved in this tragic story but I think the officer was right not knowing it was a play gun, ordering the 13 year to put it down, and considering all the tragic stories of late. This is a very sad situation but no fault of the officer. Shame on the family for suing!

The cop has been on the force for a while (20+ years). It was the middle of the day and the kid was alone with a lot of space around him. The kid DID NOT point the gun at the cop or anyone else when he was shot. The cop fired seven shots and the other officer with him did not fire a single shot (he was a rookie, new on the job). The cop is trained to assess and then react. He ignored his training. The family has every right to sue and will likely prevail.

How do you know WERE you there ?, don,t condem the officer for doing what he was trained to do , till you walk in their shoes , don,t judge them , the rookie would have been DEAD had it been a real situation , just because it was a KID , never ASSUME that their not up to no good , all the school shooters have been KIDS .

No, I was not there. I did read news stories about it from the local Santa Rosa press to get the facts as best I could. I then presented my informed opinion.

Andy Lopez was a gregarious 13 year old from a loving family, living in a mostly Latino area of Santa Rosa. He was walking in the middle of the day with a TOY gun.He was anything but like the white, older, mentally tortured loners who shot up Columbine, Aurora and Sandy Hook.

The cop had training. It did not take, clearly. He should no longer be a cop, anywhere. Andy’s family has every right to sue the SRPD.

Go ahead, Pasodowny, walk down the street carrying what appears as a AK47, someone will report you and call it in, the police will come, order you to put it down, you don’t and then what? geez…

Are you kidding me? Is there no middle ground for you? A 13 year old boy who had a toy gun (see the Christmas Story if you think this is unusual), is shot dead because he had the toy gun? That’s acceptable to you?! You would want that same cop on the beat on your street?

That boy had no training. He was confronted by a cop and probably is extremely confused. The cop, who should have heeded training, should have known that. Instead he killed a boy. A boy who played w/ a toy gun.

The rookie demonstrated far more wisdom. The shooter cop demonstrated that he is no better than George Zimmerman.

It is amazing how different perceptions of the situation can be based on what news source is used and the biases of the person reading/hearing/seeing it.

From the article posted here that I read, I gathered that the kid was big enough to possibly be an adult and that the hoodie he was wearing made it impossible to quickly note otherwise from simple observation. When ordered by the cop to stop and drop the weapon, he instead started to turn to face the cop with the weapon in his hand. How exactly was the cop supposed to know that it was a kid and that the gun was a toy given those circumstances? Do you have any idea how big an advantage an automatic weapon gives in a gun battle at 25′ plus over a semi-auto pistol? I don’t blame the cop for shooting if these facts are correct. Whether he should have stopped shooting earlier is a different question.

Now, it is possible that this article was simply a restatement of a police department’s report that was intended to cover for a cop who got out of control and that the “facts” in it are either partially or completely inaccurate. However, without evidence to the contrary, I am putting this one down as a tragedy fed primarily by youthful ignorance of dangers due to perception.

Parents, do your kids a potentially life-saving favor. Teach them about all aspects of gun safety or have someone competent do it for you. Even if they never own a gun, knowledge can prevent tragedies.

Also, make the point that hoodies, while popular, make people nervous because they are also a favorite form of dress for real #(%&^#$) hoodlums who present real threats to ordinary people. Some of those people will not give hoodie-wearers the benefit of the doubt in some situations. Those people may be armed and their rush to judgment may not be right — but that won’t do a kid any good if he is dead.