A 13-year-old boy was shot by police after carrying a BB-gun replica assault weapon in Santa Rosa. Lt. Dennis O’Leary of the Sonoma county sheriff’s office said they repeatedly ordered him to drop what appeared to be a rifle before firing several rounds.
“At some point immediately thereafter, the deputies fired several rounds from their handguns at the subject striking him several times,” a spokesperson the Sonoma county sheriff’s office told CBS News. “Once the scene was secured deputies learned that the rifle was a replica of an assault weapon.”
The boy fell to the ground. Deputies handcuffed him and began administering first aid, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies then discovered that the gun the man had been carrying was a replica, and he also had a plastic gun in his waistband.
O’Leary said the teen is believed to live in the area where he was killed.
Police Lt. Paul Henry explained that the policeman believed that he was clutching an AK-47 assault rifle. The eighth-grader was spotted during routine patrol. Two officers were on patrol that day, and police are not disclosing the name of the shooter.
“The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” Henry says.
“He has quite a bit of experience with this kind of weapon. He’s aware of the kind of damage these kinds of weapons can do. [It] can penetrate his body armor, can penetrate the metal of his vehicle, and also the sides of houses and buildings in the area.”
He mentions the victim pointing the barrel of the gun toward the officers and refusing to put the gun down.
“Put the gun down,” a witness claims to have heard twice, before the shooting. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
“As a father of two boys about this age, I can’t begin to imagine the grief this family is going through,” Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas has expressed in a statement.
The deputies involved have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted by police from Santa Rosa and Petaluma and the district attorney’s office, CBS San Francisco reports.
The boy’s father, Rodrigo Lopez, told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa the victim was his 13-year-old son, Andy.
The deputies have not been identified.