Santa Rosa Police Kill Boy, 13, carrying Toy Gun

13 yr old Andy Killed
13 yr old Andy Killed
His toy gun
His toy gun

It s a familiar and tragic story hitting headlines frequently- kids with toy replicas of real guns being killed by police.

This time, Santa Rosa, CA., got the headlines when a 13-yr old teen, armed with a toy replica of an assault rifle was killed by police. According to police reports, Andy Lopez was walking down the street with a friend's toy gun. Granted it does look real. It most likely was a gun used to fire BB's or pellets. Of course, police were not aware of this.

As Andy strolled down the street of a residential area, a police car on routine patrol spotted the teen. Thinking the worse, the cop immediately called for backup and yelled at the kid to drop the rifle. So, mistake one is the kid not dropping the gun. Why would he not so this? Why not yell that it is not a real gun? Why didn't the cop yell asking if it was real?

Obviously, a kid walking casually down a residential street with a gun is not nefarious. If this were the case, the kid would be trying to evade or hide from police, but he thought he was not in any danger for he knew it was not real. Are police so jittery now that even if a kid with an obvious looking BB rifle doing the same, react the same way??

So, Andy failed to drop the gun. Maybe he thought it was a joke, didn't hear the command. Now, the policeman, seeing the kid does not drop the rifle, pulls out his revolver and shoots the boy multiple times. The boy drops to the ground. The cop now tells him to get away from the gun. Naturally, the boy does not respond after being hit several times. The cop rushed the boy and handcuffs him. Police backup now arrive.

The cop had handcuffed a dead kid. The replica rifle had cost Andy around $35 and was an air gun that fired plastic bullets.

So many issues here. Should his working parents who were just getting home be held responsible for allowing Andy to have the gun? Why did police react so quickly and why was use of firearms a first resort? There was not much talking before Andy was shot. There were no repeated commands to drop the weapon. Has terrorism caused law enforcement to presume the worse case scenario first all the time?

In hostage situations, police spend hours negotiating. Here, there was a quick assumption by police, one demand to drop the rifle before Andy was killed with several hits. There seems to be a lack of patience in police. Where is the logic of police? A kid walking down a street, not acting suspicious at all except for carrying a pellet gun, does not mean criminal intent. At the very least, the cop should have repeated his commands and if the kid did not respond, tell the person to "freeze" and warn he will fire. Most kids by this time would be scared. Alternatively, the cop could have simply observed the boy to see if there was any criminal intent. There was none of this. It was only a quick draw that killed a 13-yr old boy.

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8 comments

petenali profile image

petenali 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This was absolutely a sad and tragic event. Looking on from the outside there are many conclusions that can be made as to how this incident could have played out differently had both Andy or the police officer acted differently. Without having been there first hand it is not mine (nor another's place to judge this specific incident).

However, what I do know is that the fallout is a family grieving over a lost son and a lost future for that child. What I also know (having been in law enforcement) is that there is a police officer who will have to live with a dreadful memory, asking himself/herself what could have been done differently.

So who is to blame? Airsoft gun manufacturers make very realistic replicas, so is it their fault?

No matter what legislation is in place for manufacturers, users, carriers and also police officers, there will always be those situations that fall outside of any "perfect" scenario and split second decisions have to be made. Not every scenario will fit snugly into a nice box. Life is messy and the fallout messier.


petenali profile image

petenali 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

...on a completely different note, your title should really be "Boy of 13 with toy gun, killed by police". As it is it sounds like they used a toy gun to kill him. Just a thought. ;-)


perrya profile image

perrya 2 years ago Author

Well, I can see why it could be read that way,LOL.


Doodlehead profile image

Doodlehead 2 years ago from Northern California

Well, until now I was thinking of moving to S.R.; it's a nice town...or it has been up until now...


perrya profile image

perrya 2 years ago Author

What happened is an anomaly. Live here a long time, basically a great place in the wine country.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Sorry perrya to hear such sadness in your town.

If he had been a terrorist he would have never been shot.


perrya profile image

perrya 2 years ago Author

I see, shoot first with no restraint


perrya profile image

perrya 2 years ago Author

Well, 7-8 shots were fired by a policeman with a lot of experience. Three hit the boy. I would think that the first shot that hit him took him down, also, I presume the cop was a good shot and one of the first rounds hit him, which leaves excessive amount of rounds being fired. I see fear and no restraint on part of the cop. Why did he keep shooting once the boy was down? Why not shoot to injure and once done, use restraint? Glad to see the FBI involved.

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