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Santa Rosa Police Kill Boy, 13, carrying 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.