Fire destroys memorial for Santa Rosa teen

Investigators have concluded that a fire at the site of a Santa Rosa teen's memorial was not vandalism.
January 2, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators have concluded a fire at a memorial for a Bay Area teenager killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy was not arson. The 13-year-old, Andy Lopez, was shot while holding a pellet gun that looked like an assault rifle.

Investigators say there are no signs of an accelerant used to start the fire. Some of the items left on an alter were damaged and by Thursday night people have already replaced some of the things lost. Despite the findings some people are still suspicious.

"You know, I don't know what's going on. It's not right though, I know that," said Deborah Romelli, a neighbor.

The fire that partially burned the memorial to Andy has been raising suspicions.

"There's evidence on the Internet... which is people threatening to burn it down," said Athena Esquivel, a neighbor.

The fire chief for the Central Fire Authority tells ABC7 News that investigators looked into a comment posted on YouTube threatening to turn the memorial into ruins, but a final report shows there's no evidence of arson. Some community members say there are at least some signs of vandalism.

"I don't know where all of his pictures are because his pictures weren't there when it was burned. So someone came and stole all the pictures," said one neighbor who didn't want to be named.

The fire happened shortly after midnight and when the sun came up a neighbor shot a YouTube video to show the destruction.

Fire investigators believe it was likely caused by a candle that accidentally tipped over. Whatever the cause, community members are now planning to rebuild this memorial to Andy and make it even better than before.


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