Sonoma County plans memorial on anniversary of Lopez shooting

Bay City News
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Andy Lopez.
A Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- It's almost one year since 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot to death by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy.

The county has approved plans to purchase two lots at the site where Lopez was killed. The land will be turned into a park as a memorial to Lopez.

Deputy Erick Gelhaus claimed he thought the airsoft pellet gun Lopez carried was an assault rifle.

Since the shooting, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires toy guns to be visually distinguishable from real weapons. The bill takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Senate Bill 199 was co-authored by state Sen. Noreen Evans, whose district includes the neighborhood near Santa Rosa where Lopez was shot seven times Oct. 22, 2013.

Gelhaus was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch in July determined Gelhaus should not face criminal charges and he returned to patrol duties the following month.