Sonoma County DA announced on Monday that they will not be filing charges against Deputy Erick Gelhaus who shot a child through the heart, then 6 more times after the first fatal round, on October 22, in Santa Rosa, CA.
The young boy was walking down the street carrying a partially translucent plastic airsoft BB gun that resembled a rifle when he was spotted by Deputy Gelhaus and his partner Michael Schemmel.
Gelhaus ordered Lopez to drop his weapon, possibly confused because the orange tip on the toy was missing.
Lopez then began to turn towards the officer when the officer immediately opened fire, shooting to kill. Gelhaus told investigators that he could not remember if he identified himself as a police officer,
Seven bullets were fired at Andy Lopez within six seconds. The officer’s report claims that he shot Lopez after he turned towards him with the toy gun, despite bullet wounds in Lopez’s side (which supporters claim may indicate he was struck while turning).
The altercation lasted a total of 19 seconds from the call for backup to “shots fired”.
After the 8th grader was on the ground, having been shot repeatedly, the officers then handcuffed the child’s dead, lifeless body.
New information released yesterday indicates Lopez may have smoked weed in the hours before the incident, the report states that he would likely have had “impaired judgement, slowed decision making and increased mental processing time, particularly when having to deal with performance of sudden, unanticipated tasks, including decisions that require a quick response.”
Jonathan Melrod, attorney and extremely dedicated activist, said the decision was based on “patent lies.”
“The police feel that we, the community, are their enemy, they police us as though they are still in Iraq or Afghanistan.” he stated. He also said that using marijuana as an excuse is just a way to divert blame to the victim.
“Let’s assume there was THC. Does that justify executing Andy?” he demanded.
Gelhaus is ironically a firearms instructor, as well as a contributing writer to gun publications, despite having once accidentally shot himself in the leg in 1995 as he searched a teenager for weapons.
People gathered to protest the decision last night, and social media was full of cries of “You say justified- We say homicide!” and “Jailhouse for Gelhaus”.
Dozens of protests have been organized, mainly by other children who go by “Andy’s Youth”, and they have been passionate and intense. From crossing police lines to bravely face off with riot police, marching and storming city council with crosses representing police brutality victims, to shaming killer cops they run into along their marches… these kids have been truly inspiring.
A demonstration to protest the decision was scheduled at the “hall of injustice” for Tuesday at 1pm.
It has yet to be announced if Gelhaus will begin patrolling the streets once again. Lets hope he doesn’t.
Andy’s life mattered.