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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: North Bay / Marin | Police State and Prisons
Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez Statement on why Sherrif Gelhaus should be indicted
On Tuesday October 22, 2013, Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus shot and killed 13-year old Andy Lopez as Andy walked on Moorland Ave. on his way to return a toy air-soft gun to a friend. Officer Gelhaus’ first bullet pierced Andy’s heart killing him instantly. Immediately, Officer Gelhaus pumped at least six additional rounds into Andy’s lifeless body. As Andy lay bleeding, Officer Gelhaus handcuffed him before even attempting CPR.
Sonoma County DA Jill Ravitch is empowered, in fact obligated, to file an indictment against Sheriff Gelhaus based on a finding of criminal activity in the unprovoked shooting of Andy Lopez. The following factual and evidentiary assertions compel the filing of criminal charges by the DA at the soonest possible time:
1. Two eyewitnesses, who directly observed Andy walking along Moorland Ave., unequivocally concluded that Andy was a young teenage boy and that he was carrying a toy gun.
2. Andy did not at any time raise the toy gun toward the Sheriffs per an eyewitness-sworn account of the shooting.
3. Sheriff Gelhaus did not permit Andy time to respond to his verbal command, shooting Andy as he turned in response to the Gelhaus command. Private autopsy confirms that Andy was turning to his right when he was shot. The bullets that hit Andy’s wrists/hands confirm that Andy did not at any time point the toy gun at Gelhaus.
4. The media widely reports that Sheriff Gelhaus does not even know if he identified himself as a police officer.
5. According to statements of three eyewitnesses,Sheriff Gelhaus shot Andy only two to three seconds after shouting a command.
6. The shooting occurred at 3:15 in the afternoon on a clear, sunlit day. There was no obstruction or other factor that hindered Sheriff Gelhaus’ ability to determine that Andy was simply a young boy with a toy gun.
7. Per the finding of an independent autopsy and eyewitness account of the incident, Andy Lopez fell to the ground after the first shot. Thereafter,deputy Gelhaus continued to shoot multiple bullets into Andy’s prostrate body.
Issued on November 26, 2013 in Santa Rosa, CA by the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez. For more information about the Coalition see: