SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Events are planned Wednesday on the first anniversary of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy southwest of Santa Rosa.
Deputy Erick Gelhaus shot Andy seven times as he walked along Moorland Avenue with an airsoft BB gun designed to resemble an AK-47 rifle. Santa Rosa police, who investigated the shooting, said Gelhaus believed the weapon was real and friends of Andy have said an orange tip on the gun indicating it was fake was either taken or broken off.READ MORE: UPDATE: Investigation Underway Into Apparent Shooting On I-580 In Oakland
There have been rallies and protests following the fatal shooting and after Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced in July that Gelhaus would not face criminal charges, as well as when Gelhaus returned to patrol duty in August.
Rallies will take place Wednesday at the State Capitol in Sacramento at noon, at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza at 1 p.m. and at Sonoma State University at noon and are part of a National Day to End Police Brutality and Stop Mass Incarceration.
There will be a potluck and candlelight vigil between 4 and 8 p.m. Wednesday at the shrine and memorial to Andy at the vacant lot where he was killed, said Ana Salgado, a member of the Moorland Neighborhood Group.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is trying to buy two properties at the site for an Andy Lopez Memorial Park and the supervisors heard more public comment Tuesday afternoon about the fatal shooting and the deputy’s return to patrol duty.
To mark the anniversary, Andy’s mother Sujey Cruz posted a letter on the Justice for Andy Lopez Facebook page.READ MORE: COVID: Santa Clara County Health Officials Prepare To Vaccinate Kids 5-11 As Authorization Looms
In a preface to her letter, Cruz said the family wanted to “publicly thank everyone for all their support in this very painful tragedy, and also thank those in the media that have given clear and transparent information.”
Cruz also thanked attorney Arnoldo Casillas, who has filed a wrongful death suit against Gelhaus and Sonoma County.
“The name of this beautiful and talented child was and remains ANDY LOPEZ CRUZ! And he is not alone. We will fight to achieve justice for him and for all the other fallen. RIP beloved Andy, you will never be forgotten, you are in our minds and hearts every moment of our lives and we will fight until we get you justice,” Cruz wrote.
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