SANTA ROSA (BCN) - Southwest Santa Rosa residents planned Wednesday evening to protest the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy in their neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.
Esmeralda Nunez said the March for Justice for the family of Andy Lopez Cruz would start at the Department of Motor Vehicles on Hearn Avenue and continue to the field at Moorland and West Robles avenues, about 1.4 miles away, where Andy was killed.
Neighbors payed their respects Wednesday at the growing memorial of flowers, photos, candles and stuffed animals at the edge of the field at the intersection.
Nunez said the marchers will carry signs protesting the shooting and demanding justice for the Cruz family.
She said justice would be served by firing the sheriff's deputies involved in the shooting.
Santa Rosa and Petaluma police and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office police are investigating the shooting.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry elaborated on the events that led to the shooting. He said shortly after 3 p.m. deputies saw a male, later identified as Andy, who was carrying what appeared to be an Ak-47 assault rifle in his left hand.
After spotting Andy and stopping their marked patrol car with the top rotating lights activated about 20 to 30 feet from him, the deputies called for backup, sheltered behind the open patrol car door and ordered Andy to "put the gun down," Henry said.
Andy, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and shorts, was walking with his back to the two deputies. After they yelled the order, he started turning around and as he did one of the deputies said he saw the barrel of the gun rising and turning toward him, according to Henry.
The deputy, fearing for his safety and knowing that style of gun could penetrate body armor, the metal exterior of the patrol car and the walls of the houses nearby, fired several rounds at Andy, striking him at least once, Henry said.
Andy immediately fell to the ground. The deputies approached him and handcuffed him and realized he was unresponsive. They then began life-saving measures and called for medical assistance, Henry said.
Andy was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
A replica of an AK-47 and a clear plastic replica of a handgun were recovered at the scene. The handgun had an orange tip that indicates the gun is fake but the rifle did not, Henry said.
At the memorial late Wednesday afternoon, some of Andy's friends said the rifle's orange tip had broken off prior to the shooting. One friend said a witness saw Andy put the replica rifle down on the ground and that he was shot when he also started removing the fake handgun from his waistband.
Andy's brother Anthony said Andy "was a real good kid."
"He liked to make people laugh. He had strong ambitions and goals and he tried to accomplish them. He was happy," Anthony said.
Andy attended Lawrence Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa until Friday when he transferred to Lewis Opportunity School, Anthony said.
Andy's parents said it was too soon to speak about their son and his death.
Nicole Guerra, whose son Antonio is one of Andy's friends, said Andy was "one of the most respectful kids I ever met.
"He was the ideal friend you would want your kid to have. He was always trying to make you smile or laugh, but he was also a little shy. He had that reserve," Guerra said.
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