#AndyLopez shooting witness offers conflicting view

A witness to the deadly 2013 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy contradicts a key element of what law enforcement says happened, the Lopez family says.

In legal papers supporting their lawsuit against the county and Deputy Erick Gelhaus, the family said a man walking in the area at the time of the shooting saw Gelhaus’ partner, Michael Schemmel, get out of their patrol car first and draw his weapon.

The account from Jordan Walker conflicts with depositions in which both deputies say Gelhaus exited before Schemmel. Gelhaus, who said he mistook an airsoft BB gun Lopez was carrying for an assault rifle, shot the youth after yelling at him to drop the gun, he said.

But Walker’s version, which has Schemmel pointing his gun at Lopez and not firing, casts doubt on whether it was reasonable for Gelhaus to suspect Lopez posed a danger, the family’s attorney says.

In court documents, attorney Arnoldo Casillas said it suggests Schemmel recognized Lopez “was a young boy” and the rifle he carried as he walked along Moorland Avenue was “a toy.” It also supports allegations that Gelhaus acted in haste.

“What is clear is that his partner, Michael Schemmel, who was out of the patrol car first and was pointing his gun at Andy Lopez during the entire encounter outside the vehicle, did not consider Andy Lopez to be a threat,” Casillas wrote. “He did not shoot.”


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Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pressdemocrat.com