SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has identified Michael Schemmel as the second sheriff’s deputy who was present at the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in October.
Schemmel was the driver of the patrol car that encountered Lopez as he walked down Mooreland Avenue near West Robles Avenue with a BB pellet rifle.
Schemmel was employed in the Marin County Sheriff’s office for eight years before he was hired by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in September 2013, sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
She said Schemmel was a witness to the incident, and due to the nature of the investigation, coupled with threats of violence, his name was not released during the investigation.
According to Santa Rosa police, sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus ordered Lopez to drop what he believed was an AK-47 assault rifle, and Gelhaus shot Lopez seven times when the barrel of the rifle rose upward as Lopez turned toward the patrol car. Lopez died at the scene.
The Santa Rosa and Petaluma police departments investigated the Oct. 22 shooting and in January forwarded their report for review to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, who was re-elected to another 4-year term Tuesday.
Ravitch’s role is to determine whether or not violations of criminal law occurred, and as deemed appropriate, prosecute any individuals believed to have violated criminal law, provide a summary and recommendation to the Sonoma County Grand Jury and present investigation information upon request.
Critics have accused Ravitch of withholding the results of her review of the officer involved shooting investigation before Tuesday’s election, and they have called for Gelhaus’ arrest and prosecution for murder.
On May 16 she said her office is still “fully immersed in the investigation and dedicated to completing” it as soon as possible.
“We will take the time it requires, no more and no less. The Lopez family, Deputy Gelhaus and the public deserve that,” Ravitch said.
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