Effort Underway To Build Santa Rosa Park Honoring Andy Lopez

SANTA ROSA (KCBS) — An effort is underway to convince the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to build a park in honor of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in October.

Lopez, an eighth grader, was carrying a fake gun when he was shot by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus on a vacant lot along Moorland Avenue in unincorporated Santa Rosa on October 22nd.

According to supporters, the park would be built at the lot where Lopez was killed.

Gelhaus, 48, is currently on paid administrative leave while an investigation of the shooting continues. It had previously been reported that Gelhaus shot Lopez eight times because he believed the gun was an AK-47 and feared for his life. The boy was struck with seven bullets.

Lopez’s killing sparked waves of protest in the weeks that followed. Some protesters and organizers, such as poet Michael Rothenberg want a memorial park built in Lopez’s honor.

“It was already something that they knew they could do. Something they should have done,” Rothenberg said.

Lopez was carrying an Airsoft gun when he was shot. Rothenberg said kids use those types of pellet guns all the time on the very lot where Lopez was killed.

“Some people say he wouldn’t have been killed if that park had been built already,” he said.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss a range of actions since the wake of the shooting, including creation of a local law-enforcement task force.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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