SANTA ROSA (AP) — A preliminary review by a Northern California sheriff's office shows a deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy did not violate department procedure governing the use of deadly force, sheriff's officials said.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reviewed the October shooting of Andy Lopez by Deputy Erick Gelhaus based on an initial briefing by Santa Rosa police, who are looking into whether criminal charges are warranted against Gelhaus, the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported.
The review by the sheriff's department is ongoing, but so far there is no indication Gelhaus failed to follow procedures, Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas told the newspaper Tuesday.
"We're not talking about guilt or innocence; we're talking about policy," Duenas said of the sheriff's review. "Was deadly force used? Did he follow deadly force policy?"
Duenas said there was "nothing screaming at us that he violated any policy."
Gelhaus shot Andy Lopez seven times Oct. 22 as the teen walked in a Santa Rosa neighborhood with a BB gun. Gelhaus told investigators he believed the BB gun was an assault rifle.
The shooting sparked numerous protests that were renewed after Gelhaus returned to work Monday. Sheriff's officials have said he will be assigned to a desk job until prosecutors decide whether to file charges.
Dozens of protesters angry that Gelhaus was back on the job forced the Santa Rosa City Council to halt its meeting Tuesday, the Press Democrat reported.
One of them, Ramon Cairo, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer with a protest sign.
Another person, 24-year-old Jose Godoy of Santa Rosa, was arrested on suspicion of violating probation and obstructing a peace officer after he was stopped leaving a nighttime protest for Andy, the Press Democrat reported.