California deputy kills 13-year-old carrying fake rifle

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An AK-47 semi-automatic replica, right, is shown next to the real thing at a court proceeding for a California police officer accused of fatally shooting a boy carry the fake rifle. (Photo: CNN / KGO)

An AK-47 semi-automatic replica, right, is shown next to the real thing at a court proceeding for a California police officer accused of fatally shooting a boy carry the fake rifle. (Photo: CNN / KGO)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — A sheriff’s deputy mistakenly thought he saw a teen carrying an assault rifle on a California street this week and shot him dead, authorities said.

It turned out the 13-year-old boy was carrying two fake guns, a replica AK-47 and a fake hand gun, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office said.

The Tuesday shooting is being investigated, the sheriff’s office said.

School officials in the northern California city of Santa Rosa identified the teen as Andy Lopez Cruz.

“The Santa Rosa City School District family is deeply saddened by the loss of Andy Lopez Cruz,” a school system statement said. “This is a tragic event for family, schools and the community. His administrators and teachers will remember him as kind, intelligent and capable.”

Two Sonoma County deputies spotted the boy holding what appeared to be an assault rifle Tuesday afternoon, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office said.

They pulled over “but maintained cover behind their open passenger door,” the press release said.

They yelled at the teen to put the weapon down. He had his back to them and began turning around towards the officers, the statement said.

“One of the deputies described that as the subject was turning toward him the barrel of the assault rifle was rising up and turning in his direction. The deputy feared for his safety, the safety of his partner, and the safety of the community members in the area,” the statement said.

A deputy shot the teen. The teen was handcuffed, and the officers called for an ambulance, the statement said. Deputies found the fake rifle on the ground near the boy. The bogus handgun was tucked in his waistband.

Cruz’s classmates were crestfallen by the news, Lawrence Cook Middle School Assistant Principal Linsey Gannon told CNN affiliate KRON.

“He was a very popular student,” Gannon told the affiliate. “He was a handsome young man with many friends and a lovely family. He will be missed.”

Late Wednesday, a crowd gathered in the dirt field where the boy was shot, to hold a memorial that turned into a rally against police shootings, CNN affiliate KGO reported. In the crowd was Cruz’s mother who said she was too grief-stricken to talk, KGO reported.

Family friend Gabriel Roque said she was outraged.

“He’s was a 13-year-old boy who was no harm to anybody. This was not a grown man walking down the street with a gun,” she told the affiliate. “He was a 13-year-old little boy, you could just tell him to put it down.”

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  • Copsarekillersofinnocents

    He murdered a kid for no reason, make an example of him, cop or not. let me use this time to point out that if this was a Iraqi or afghani kid and the cop was a soldier or marine he would be charged with murder for violating the ROE if our fighting men have to wait to be fired upon to act lets make it the same for cops. The worlds full of hypocrisy.

  • Test

    Even if it was a real gun it’s insane to totally freak out and start screaming at someone, especially if you think they have a gun.

    The problem is that screaming and yelling at people is just not a very effective way to communicate. The kid probably had no idea who was screaming at him and what was going on.

    He turned around to look at the source of the screaming and got shot.

    I had a DOW officer approach me while I was armed. She didn’t scream and yell, she calmly approached and asked to see my hunting license. And, yes, no one got shot even though both of us had guns.

  • Emily

    You CANNOT carry such toys! If it wasn’t a cop that shot him it would have been someone else who felt threatened. Who in the heck allows a young child that age carry around a spitting image of the real thing??? I feel for the officer … he will have this guilt forever because of someone’s negligence as a parent! Stupidity is not an excuse.

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