Erick Gelhaus, a veteran deputy and firearms instructor, killed
Andy Lopez as the eighth-grader was walking near his home in the
wine-country town of Santa Rosa in October carrying an imitation gun
he planned to return to a friend, according to the complaint filed
in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The Oct. 22 shooting sparked an FBI investigation and continuing
At least two people at the scene moments before the shooting said
the 5-foot, 3-inch teen looked like a child carrying a toy gun, the
Police said Andy was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt when Gelhaus
spotted him holding what appeared to be an assault rifle. After the
deputy ordered the boy to drop the gun, the teen turned toward
Gelhaus, who saw the barrel of the gun rise and fired eight shots,
In November, the boy's parents, Sujay Cruz and Rodrigo Lopez, filed
a federal lawsuit against Gelhaus and Sonoma County. The suit
accuses the deputy of violating the teen's civil rights and seeks
On Tuesday, attorney Arnoldo Casillas filed an amended complaint
with additional details about the incident.
"From the time that the deputies called out to Andy Lopez until the
time that Gelhaus fired his first shot, only three seconds elapsed,"
the suit says. In an interview, Casillas said the information came
from two witnesses to the incident.
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The suit also says that deputies knew the boy would respond to the
order to drop the gun by turning to face them. The suit does not say
how they knew that, but Casillas said that it would be typical for
someone who is not a criminal to turn toward the sound of a police
There was a second deputy on the scene in addition to Gelhaus.
The complaint goes on to allege that Gelhaus, a 24-year deputy who
served 10 years in the military with a stint in Iraq, shot
Several shots missed the boy and struck a house, the suit says.
Neither Gelhaus's attorney nor Sonoma County responded to requests
for comment on Tuesday.
Authorities are continuing to investigate Andy's killing, Santa Rosa
police Lieutenant Paul Henry said Tuesday.
(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Leslie Adler)
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