Santa Rosa park dedicated in memory of Andy Lopez opens

Byby Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Sunday, June 3, 2018
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A Santa Rosa park that memorializes a teenager who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy nearly five years ago opened Saturday.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- A new North Bay park was dedicated Saturday, in memory of Andy Lopez, the Santa Rosa teen shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's Deputy in 2013.

Andy's Unity Park on Moorland Ave was built on a vacant lot where Lopez was shot.

"This is a beautiful place, I hope it will heal the wounds of what's happened here," said Santa Rosa resident Cliff Nakamura.

RELATED: Only On 7: Witness takes issue with DA's report on Andy Lopez

The four acre Sonoma County regional park cost $3 million to build. It features a memorial to Lopez and a bronze sculpture of his face.

"This park is long overdue, today we remember Andy and help the community move forward," said Sonoma County Regional Parks Director, Bert Whitaker.

Others say moving forward isn't so easy.

RELATED: Deputy who killed Andy Lopez won't face charges

"We keep fighting for justice, that cop is still on the streets, the family will never get their son back," said Lopez' friend Tony Guerra.

Deouty Erik Gelhaus was cleared by the Sonoma Co. DA of wrongdoing in the shooting. Investigators say Andy Lopez was carrying an airsoft BB gun which resembled an AK-47 rifle. Investigators say the deputy opened fire when Lopez turned and raised his weapon.

The Lopez family attended the dedication ceremony but did not speak to the crowd. The family helped to release white doves, a symbol of peace.

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