Deputy who shot teen a veteran firearms instructor

Erick Gelhouse is a 24-year veteran of the department and a firearms instructor.
October 29, 2013 5:06:00 AM PDT
It was last Tuesday when 13-year-old Andy Lopez was carrying an air-soft rifle that shoots pellets to his friend's house in Santa Rosa. The rifle closely resembles an AK- 47.

Sonoma County sheriff deputies stopped him, ordered Lopez to drop the rifle, then opened fire, hitting the teen seven times, killing him.

The deputy who fatally shot Andy has been identified as 48-year-old Erick Gelhaus a 24-year veteran of the department. Gelhaus is a firearms instructor who has written articles for law enforcement publications on the use of deadly force.

Gelhaus said he feared for his life when Andy turned around and pointed the rifle at him.

Monday, Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas spoke to ABC7 News about the shooting and the reaction from the community.

"I don't believe that racism is involved in this case at all and many of the people of Sonoma County know that the sheriff's office, and me specifically, has done much in the past three years to build bridges, specifically with the Latino community," Freitas said.

The FBI has joined several local agencies looking into the shooting.

A large crowd of demonstrators is expected to rally over the shooting in downtown Santa Rosa Tuesday at noon.