SANTA ROSA. (AP) — Investigators have given a Northern California prosecutor their final report on a sheriff deputy fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy rifle.
Now it’s up to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch to decide whether criminal charges are warranted.
Local media reported Wednesday that Ravitch said it may be months before she decides. Ravitch said her department’s policy is to make such decisions within 90 days of receiving similar reports, but that the district attorney isn’t bound by that timeline.
“I recognize the community would like me to complete my review and make a decision in short order, however it’s essential it be done in a thorough and complete fashion,” Ravitch said according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (http://bit.ly/1nmQnHt). “I have no intention of delaying this review but I will not be committed to a specific date for completion.”
Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus shot and killed Andy Lopez on the afternoon of Oct. 22 as the teen was walking in a Santa Rosa neighborhood with a replica assault rifle that fired plastic discs. Gelhaus has said through his attorney that he believed the rifle was real and that he feared for his life when he opened fire.
The shooting touched off several neighborhood protests and exacerbated tensions between residents of the heavily Latino area and police. Protesters have called for Gelhaus to face criminal charges. His attorney didn’t return a call for comment.
Neither Ravitch nor the Santa Rosa Police Department, which conducted the review, would comment on the report.
The boy’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the county.