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Protesters Rally After DA Says No Charges Against Deputy In Shooting of Andy Lopez

Photo courtesy: Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez at www.justicecoalitionforandylopez.com.
Photo courtesy: Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez at www.justicecoalitionforandylopez.com.
About 50 people rallied in the parking lot of the Dollar Tree store in Roseland late this afternoon to protest Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch's decision not to charge a sheriff's deputy with the shooting murder of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in October.

Ravitch held a news conference in Santa Rosa this afternoon and called the shooting of Lopez "absolutely tragic," but said the actions of Sonoma County sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus were lawful and that he would not be charged.

[Previous: Sonoma County DA To Announce No Charges in Andy Lopez Shooting.]

Alfredo Sanchez, of Santa Rosa, who was one of several speakers at today's rally, told the crowd that Gelhaus "needs to be taken out of his occupation."

On Oct. 22, 2013, the teen was walking with a BB pellet rifle on Moorland Avenue just outside of Santa Rosa when Gelhaus and another deputy saw him.

Gelhaus told investigators he ordered Lopez to drop the rifle, but the barrel of the gun rose as the teen turned toward the deputies' patrol car.

Gelhaus, who said he feared for his life, fired eight shots at Lopez, who was struck by seven bullets and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The district attorney's office today released a 52-page report on what Ravitch called an "exhaustive" investigation into the details of the shooting.

Human rights attorney Jonathan Melrod said Ravitch's decision condones brute force by police and said that Gelhaus deserves to be charged with murder.

At today's rally, Maria de Los Angeles, of Roseland, said law enforcement officers who may have served in Iraq and Afghanistan before they were hired need to be screened for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas released a statement about Ravitch's decision, saying his "heart goes out to the friends of Andy Lopez, the involved deputies, and the entire Sonoma County community during this difficult time."

"We as a community need to come together to find every possible way to minimize the potential of a tragic incident like this from happening again," Freitas said.

After about an hour of rallying outside the Dollar Tree, the crowd decided to march to the Andy Lopez memorial site on Moorland Avenue.

Another protest is planned for 1 p.m. Tuesday outside Ravitch's office in the Sonoma County Superior Courthouse in Santa Rosa and another rally is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa.

At the rally today, Sanchez urged the crowd to be nonviolent at upcoming rallies.

"We must be peaceful tomorrow and not be like them. They brought the violence to us," he said.

--Bay City News

Rock Fan July 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Five million versions of the truth, under one roof .
T McDermott July 08, 2014 at 10:34 AM
The Police had no way to tell if this was a Sandyhook/Columbine incident. What they saw was a teenage male with an assault rifle walking toward the school who did not respond to the 'Drop the gun' command. The police face people with guns in our communities regularly. Their lives are in danger and they need to protect the public and themselves. When you are in danger you call the police not one of the protestors.
Goofpod July 08, 2014 at 11:05 AM
Equally tragic to this event is the us vs. them mentality delivered to the crowd by perceived leaders: "They brought the violence to us," he said. Who are "they"? Sad, the boy died and now the grieving adults are blinded into misguidance. No winners here except, perhaps, the lawyers. :(
Katherine Wilson July 08, 2014 at 12:49 PM
"At today's rally, Maria de Los Angeles, of Roseland, said law enforcement officers who may have served in Iraq and Afghanistan before they were hired need to be screened for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. " --I think that is probably the most logical thing I've heard anyone say at a rally...while I see nothing wrong with coming together for something you believe in, it was becoming quite obvious that the rallies that were being held after the shooting were being led by individuals whose main focus was simply to rile up the crowds & condemn ALL law enforcement, I really hope that doesnt become the case again...you must act better than those you are trying to condemn,...
Reginald "Rex" Henderson July 08, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Come on, people. It was an ACCIDENT, a natural mistake!

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