DA Says Investigation Of Andy Lopez Shooting Death By Deputy To Take More Time
SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Tuesday her investigation of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus will continue past today’s 90-day “guideline” to determine if any violations of criminal law occurred.
The Oct. 22 shooting occurred on Moorland Avenue in an unincorporated area of the county outside southwest Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa police investigated the shooting and sent their results to Ravitch in January.
Ravitch said she is aware the community is anxious for her to reach a legal determination and that 90 days “is the guideline that we endeavor to meet in these cases.”
Ravitch said Tuesday her office is “dedicated to completing the review of the shooting of Andy Lopez as soon as possible, while ensuring a thorough and complete investigation with no stone left unturned.”
“I’ve also promised to be as transparent as possible during this process,” she said.
Members of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez have called for Ravitch to indict or jail Gelhaus. They have also accused her of “stonewalling” the investigation until after the June 3 primary election in which Ravitch is running for re-election against Deputy District Attorney Victoria Shanahan.
Protesters held a brief demonstration outside the Sonoma County Superior Courthouse Tuesday morning, demanding that Ravitch release the report of the investigation.
They also picketed a candidates’ debate between Ravitch and Shanahan earlier this month.
Lopez was shot seven times as he walked down Moorland Avenue with an airsoft pellet rifle that looked like an AK-47 assault rifle, Santa Rosa police said.
Police said Gelhaus, who was 48 at the time, believed his life and his fellow deputy’s life were in danger because the barrel of the pellet rifle rose upward when Lopez turned toward the deputies, who were behind the doors of their patrol car.
Santa Rosa police said Gelhaus ordered Lopez to drop the rifle before he shot him.
Ravitch said Tuesday her office has conducted a thorough review of the “extensive investigation” by Santa Rosa police in conjunction with Petaluma police.
She said her office is still waiting for final reports from “expert consultants on pertinent issues” and has requested additional forensic analysis of evidence.
Ravitch said her office is under no obligation to discuss details of the investigation while the reports are under review.
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