Andy Lopez’ family can proceed with lawsuit against Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy, judge rules

The family of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy in 2013 while carrying an airsoft BB gun, can take their wrongful death lawsuit to trial, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

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Update-Andy Lopez case: exclusive interview with Attorney Arnoldo Casillas

Andy Lopez case: exclusive interview with Attorney Arnoldo Casillas, representing the Lopez family, hearing took place in U.S. District Court Dec. 9th, 2015 in Oakland. Interview by Francisco Lozano. Video Copyrights Francisco Lozano/KBBF 89.1 fm.

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#Justice4AndyLopez #LatinosAreHuman

#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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2 Years Later & the Community is Still United in the Fight for Justice for Andy Lopez!

Protest at Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office & Community Potluck To Celebrate the Life of Andy Lopez On the 2 Year Anniversary of his Killing.

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MARCH! Dec. 13th 2pm Downtown Santa Rosa! Justice for Andy Lopez! Justice for Mike Brown! Justice for Tamir Rice! Justice for Eric Garner!


DEC. 13th @ 2:00pm Downtown Santa Rosa, CA.JOIN ON FACEBOOK!We need to continue to build momentum in struggle for justice for Andy Lopez, Mike Brown,Tamir Rice and all victims of police murder. Join us Saturday 12/13 at 2pm at Old Courthouse Square. We’ll make the short trek to the Santa Rosa Plaza where we will participate in a die in inside the mall in solidarity with Ferguson. After that we will regroup and decide together (on the spot to neutralize police interference) where to march, and YES, we will march. Please invite everybody you can to come! Let’s do this!



Events planned for first anniversary of Andy Lopez killing – Oct 22, 2013 – Santa Rosa, CA

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. — Sonoma County residents are preparing several events to mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a county sheriff’s deputy on Oct. 22, 2013.

Community members plan to attend a 6 p.m. meeting Monday in Santa Rosa of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force, which was established by the county Board of Supervisors following the shooting of Andy by Deputy Erick Gelhaus, who believed the airsoft rifle the teen was carrying was an AK-47 rifle.


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Public invitation to Andy Lopez memorial Oct. 22 Santa Rosa, CA


Community gathering at the memorial site to share thoughts and feelings about Andy as we approach the 1 year anniversary of his death on Oct 22nd. Bilingual grief counselors and community support volunteers from St. Joseph’s Health of Sonoma County will be present to help facilitate and share. Open to all youth and adults. 4:00- 5:30pm

Location: Moorland Ave and West Robles, Santa Rosa, CA

Reunion de la comunidad en el sitio memorial de Andy para compartir pensamientos y sentimientos acerca de Andy mientras nos acercamos al aniversario de 1 año de su muerte el 22 de octubre. Terapeutas de duelo bilingües y voluntarios de apoyo del St. Joseph’s Health del condado de Sonoma estarán presentes para ayudar a facilitar y compartir.  Abierto a todos los jóvenes y adultos. 4:00- 5:30pm.

Direction: Moorland Ave and West Robles, Santa Rosa, CA


Andy Lopez mural goes up in Roseland


Three miles from where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy nearly a year ago, a mural of the boy went up.

Santa Rosa artist Mario Uribe installed Friday the temporary 8-foot-by-16-foot mural along the side of a vacant gas station at West Avenue and Sebastopol Road in the heart of Roseland. It’s one of the busiest intersections in the southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood, which was rattled by the fatal Oct. 22 shooting by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus, who reportedly mistook the airsoft BB gun Lopez was carrying for an AK-47 assault rifle that it was designed to resemble.

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Task force studying law enforcement issues to be paid


Sonoma County supervisors this week unanimously approved the allocation of $40,000 from the county’s general fund to compensate members of an appointed task force studying law enforcement issues in the wake of the fatal Andy Lopez shooting last year.”


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Erick Gelhaus, deputy who shot 13 year old Andy Lopez, returning to patrol


Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus will return to patrolling the streets next week, nearly 10 months after he shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, sparking protests that revealed deep distrust of law enforcement among some residents, especially those in the Latino community.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office in July cleared Gelhaus of any criminal wrongdoing for his actions in the fatal Oct. 22 shooting, which ignited an emotional debate about officers’ use of deadly force and the dangers of toy guns made to look like real firearms.

Lopez was shot while walking down a residential street on Santa Rosa’s southwest outskirts carrying an airsoft BB gun made to resemble an AK-47 assault rifle. Gelhaus told investigators he ordered the boy to drop the gun, then opened fire when Lopez turned toward the deputy, partially raising the barrel of the gun.

Gelhaus did not return a call seeking comment about his return to patrol duties. His attorney Terry Leoni said in an email that the veteran deputy welcomed “this assignment, and knows his nearly 25-years in law enforcement will continue to benefit the community.”

“He will continue to proudly serve the people of Sonoma County, as he has always done,” Leoni said.

Gelhaus, a firearms instructor in the Sheriff’s Office, has been back at work since December, largely in administrative assignments within the department. His return to patrol, including a wide range of duties interacting with the public, marks another potent moment in what has been a painful and tumultuous chapter in Sonoma County history.

For those who have continued to protest the deputy’s actions, news of Gelhaus’ return to patrol was met with surprise and a sense that their concerns had gone unheard.

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