A neighbor who witnessed police shooting 13-year-old Andy Lopez for carrying a pellet gun says officers shot Lopez six or seven more times after he’d already hit the ground.
The witness, Ethan Oliver, said he went outside after hearing two shots fired. When he went outside, Lopez was already on the ground.
“Then the cops went at it again and unloaded like six to seven shots,” Oliver said.
A reporter asked Oliver to explicitly state if he saw officers shoot Lopez while he was on the ground.
“Yeah. Exactly what I saw,” he said.
Authorities have not responded to Oliver’s claim.
Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry held a press conference today in which he discussed the shooting.
Henry says Lopez was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and had his back turned to police when they saw him carrying the pellet gun, a replica AK-47. Police ordered him to drop the gun. That’s when Lopez turned towards police, still holding the gun.
“The deputy's mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” Henry said.
“The deputy then fired several rounds from his service weapon at the subject, striking him at least one time. The subject immediately fell to the ground.”
Family, friends, and supporters from the Santa Rosa community held a march on Wednesday night to protest the shooting of Lopez.
“They kinda look the same," said neighbor Christina Avila, "but at the same time if you're law enforcement your job is to know what's real and what's fake."
"If this is like anywhere else in rural Sonoma County and a kid with a pellet gun, they wouldn't have done nothing to him,” said resident Greg Kestel. “But this urban area they just blast the kid."
All officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. Santa Rosa Sheriff Steve Freitas said the shooting was a “tragedy” and that his office will conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.
“The public expects that the investigation will be thorough and transparent. As sheriff, I will do all in my power to see that expectation is satisfied,” he said. “My hope is that we can work with the community to help prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future.”