Update: FBI to Get Involved in CA Deputy Shooting

Fox News:

SAN FRANCISCO –  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of a popular 13-year-old boy by a sheriff’s deputy in Northern California.

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Sheriff Steve Freitas said in a statement Friday afternoon that he will cooperate fully with federal investigators and welcomes their participation in the probe of Andy Lopez’s killing on Tuesday afternoon. The shooting has generated numerous protests and marches in the suburban town of Santa Rosa, with many residents questioning the deputy’s decision to fire on the youth.

Freitas also expressed sympathy to the Lopez family and thanked the Santa Rosa community for keeping protests peaceful.

Police say Lopez was carrying a pellet gun that looked like an AK-47 assault rifle.

A timeline released Thursday by the Santa Rosa police shows that only 10 seconds passed from the moment that the sheriff’s deputy and his partner called dispatch to report a suspicious person to the moment they called back to say shots had been fired.

FBI spokesman Paul Lee said he did not know why his agency decided to get involved or whether local authorities had requested its help.

City police and the Sonoma County district attorney’s office are also investigating.

The Santa Rosa Police Department said two deputies in a squad car encountered the hoodie-wearing Lopez just after 3:14 p.m.

Witnesses say at least one of the deputies took cover behind an open front door of the cruiser, and one yelled twice “drop the gun.”

Ten seconds after their initial report to dispatch, one of the officers called in “shot have been fired.”

Sixteen seconds later, the deputies were calling for medical help. Lopez was later pronounced dead at the scene. The Sonoma County coroner said he found seven “apparent entry wounds,” two of them fatal.

The deputies, who have not been identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard after a shooting, officials said.

Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas told the Press Democrat that the deputy who shot the teen is a 24-year veteran and his partner, who did not fire his weapon, is a new hire.

Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry told the newspaper the deputy who opened fire later told investigators he believed his life as well his partner’s was in jeopardy. The deputy said the teen didn’t comply with commands to drop the gun and was turning toward the deputies while raising the barrel.

“The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” Henry said at a Wednesday news conference.

Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina, said officers are typically justified in the use of deadly force when they sincerely believe lives are at stake.

If the teen was raising the barrel of the gun toward officers, they had little choice about firing, Alpert said.

“If it’s a pink bubble gum gun and an obvious fake to most, then there is no reason to shoot,” he said. “But if the gun looks real the barrel is being pointed at you … it’s unfortunate, but a perceived threat trumps age and the officers have to protect themselves.”

Hundreds of community members marched Wednesday night to remember the teen and protest the shooting.

They covered more than three miles from Santa Rosa City Hall to the field where Andy Lopez was killed. Some lit candles and placed flowers at a makeshift memorial with printed pictures of the victim, stuffed animals and a balloon that read “RIP Andy L.”

More than 100 angry middle and high school students walked to City Hall on Friday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Hundreds of people protested earlier in the week.

~~~~~~~~~

Ten seconds.  A seasoned officer fired seven shots in ten seconds. Was it panic-driven firing of his weapon? The new hire didn’t fire at all – did he freeze? If this is true, we’ll never know it, because they will stick like glue to the story of fearing for their lives. Ten seconds seems hardly enough time for the boy to hear the instructions and realize the dilemma he’s in.

Now enter the FBI, but on whose instructions? Their ill-informed spokesman didn’t know why they’re involved and the sheriff welcomed the assistance.

As Brian pointed out in the first post on this incident, Lopez would have been within his rights to carry, even if the gun had been real.

Did you catch that description in the middle of the story?  “Deputies..encountered the hoodie wearing Lopez…”  The FBI and another hoodie, hmm, I wonder where this is going?

~Kathy

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30 Responses to Update: FBI to Get Involved in CA Deputy Shooting

  1. Buck says:

    “…the hoodie wearing Lopez…”
    Okay hoodies are respectable when Treyvon was wearing it and he didn’t look suspicious but now hoodies tend to make one look suspicious….

  2. Hardnox says:

    I am curious to learn how they will shine this turd. This doesn’t sound good at all. None of us were there but it seems that the cops screwed-up big time. I hope this doesn’t get covered up.

    Thanks for the update.

    • Kathy says:

      That’s true – none of us were there, and you never know how you’ll react to a situation until you are actually in that situation. The kid’s actions could be such that this was totally justified – we don’t know. Still, seven shots at one guy – that’s something the cop will have to live with the rest of his life.

  3. Clyde says:

    The FBI spokesman said he did not know who got them involved, and why ? Does the incompetence from the administration extend down to FBI field offices now? HJC. I think we KNOW who sent them and why they were sent. To demonize the GUN, of course.

    • Kathy says:

      Agreed, Clyde, this came from the top, but to demonize the gun, they have to fry the cop who used it. A small sacrifice to further the gun control agenda.

  4. garnet92 says:

    They can’t shine this turd, ‘Nox, first, they’d have to pick it up by the clean end (couldn’t resist). I’ve read several accounts of this shooting and I think it’s unlikely that anything new is going to change the trajectory. A thought came to me as I thought (only briefly) of how I would feel if my 13-year-old was killed, by a cop, shooting seven rounds at the kid. Sorry to say, I would consider killing the cop.

    • Kathy says:

      That’s probably an emotion common to all parents, Garnet. Watch for law suits to follow as that’s their only legal recourse. Lawyers are probably already lined up at their door.

  5. Mrs AL says:

    Wish my husband person was here to ask about the FBI involvement. He might have a thought*. I can’t fathom why they would be involved.

    Very much appreciate the update, Kathy. Getting interesting to say the least.

    * As you know, there has been some ‘rivalry’ between the FBI and many cops/police departments. If he has any idea I will leave a comment (after cleaning up the language, of course – haha),

  6. Slight problem here……the federal government has no jurisdiction. This is strictly a local/state-level incident. Tell the FBI to take their shiny badges and go the hell home.

  7. Bill Baldwin says:

    I can’t say whether the deputy was right or wrong, but I’m sure the FBI will get to the bottom of it, surely there’s got to be dashcam video. If the deputy is charged, his partner not shooting will be used against him.

    If I was the sheriff, the first call that I would have made would have been to the FBI. As it stands now, it looks way bad for the deputy. 10 seconds from arrived on scene to shots fired, seems a little suspicious to me, but I wasn’t there.

    • Hardnox says:

      Bill, wouldn’t the first point of contact been to the state police for such an incident? feds don’t have jurisdiction unless it is alleged that it breaks fed law.

      • Bill Baldwin says:

        The FBI has jurisdiction for civil rights violations and the United States Code has penalties for civil rights violations that result in injury or death. If I were the sheriff, I would have three things on my mind. 1. Avoid an L.A. type riot. 2. Insure justice is served, whether by clearing or charging the deputy. 3. Re-election. While the State Police has jurisdiction concerning the investigation into the homicide, I’m not familiar with their civil rights code.

        The worst possible thing that can happen to that sheriff is for those 100 or so school children to see a perceived injustice and riot. It would not go over very well for his department (or any for that matter) to respond with riot gear against kids. In my opinion, an FBI investigation is the quickest way to show openness to the public.

  8. J.O.B. says:

    One fun fact is this. There is a new latino gang in Chicago that has a unique initiation process. They don’t necessarily have to murder anyone. But they do have to fire shots at someone. And that someone has to be a uniformed police officer.

    I am amazed at some of the comments I’ve read. As of now HNox is correct. No one was there and we do not have all the facts. But why are we so quick to bastardize the police department? Until further evidence is produced, I can’t help but chalk this one up as an unfortunate accident. The parents in the neighborhood protesting, I can understand that. a young teenage boy was shot, not too mention the parents themselves will not want to take responsibility for this tragedy. After all, someone decided it was okay for this boy to walk around with a replicated assault weapon.

    “Still, seven shots at one guy – that’s something the cop will have to live with the rest of his life.”
    That is correct Kathy, they will have to live with it. Which will most likely lead to alcoholism and failed marriages. But I think it is a mistake for any of us to guess what the officer’s perceived threat was.

    Maybe society as a whole should be more concerned with the toys their children play with. This kid could not possibly comprehend the magnitude of the situation he was in. And in turn lost his life. All because of a toy his parents deemed okay to play with. As for some comments on the previous post regarding this subject.

    “This was a very disturbing situation. As a gun nut and a NRA member, I do normally want to cut some slack for our police – they do have a difficult job in dealing primarily with the dregs of society. That being said, unless the kid pointed the “gun” directly at them, I don’t think that they should have fired at all. They were no doubt aiming at him and could get off their shots if threatened before he could likely hit one of them so I’m looking for charges to be brought against them. And seven rounds? I’m not a LEO, but my firearm training teaches to shoot to STOP the perp, not to KILL him.”

    First thing Garnet, I completely disagree that the police should have waited for the barrel to be pointed directly at them. That is a ridiculous notion for any police officer, or law abiding citizen for that matter. If the officer commanded the boy to drop the weapon, any action other than placing the weapon to the ground would be a perceived threat. And shooting to stop a perp? I’ll remember that if I ever see someone armed walking in my backyard.

    ““Today cops are all called “heroes”

    That’s because every tv show is about either cops, doctors or lawyers and they are always painted with an heroic brush.
    We all know a large percent of cops don’t fall in that category.

    Lots of cops want the public disarmed believing it makes their jobs easier and safer and to hell with the citizen’s safety when they are not around or have a 40 minute respond time.”
    I’m not sure how many officers you know Buck, but I think your opinion might be without warrant. Many police officers would prefer an armed public. I don’t know a single one that is against a person’s rights to gun ownership. And many of the officers I know joined in the fight to end Illinois’ ban on carry legislation.

    Before I go, one more thing. California law requires non-firing “imitation weapons” to look like playthings by being brightly colored or transparent. But a 2011 proposal by state Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, to extend that requirement to pellet and BB guns – after the shooting of another 13-year-old boy with a replica – failed after manufacturers and retailers lobbied against it. As long as we as a society let our children play with toy guns that have the same look, feel, and weight as real guns, tragedies like this will continue to occur. And I guess we will just continue demonizing the police.

    • Hardnox says:

      J.O.B., thanks for the visit. We all know good cops and we all know not so good cops. The later are usually the ones that got beat-up in high school and now what to extract revenge. Most cops are first rate and do it for love of country and community. I have a real problem with this mess. 10 seconds from when the call came in to when the next call came in to report a shooting. That leaves precious few seconds from the time the officer asked for the kid to put the gun down, assuming the kid understood the order, and when the cop shot him 7 times.

      This thing stinks on ice no matter how someone wants to fragrance it. Cops are supposedly trained for this type of situation. 7 shots? Really? Try that at home if a perp breaks into your house and see what happens to you.

      Lastly, I don’t know of a single cop that is afraid of the citizens owning guns.

      • J.O.B. says:

        Ten seconds between calls isn’t as short of a time period when you go over it in your head HNox. Initial call is placed when they pull up. Officer in passenger seat exits vehicle as officer in driver seat places call. Officer A drops behind open door using it as a shield as he draws his weapon. He immediately orders this kid to drop the weapon. The kid, not comprehending what’s going on, because he is a kid, turns towards the officer with the perceived weapon being raised. The officer fires.
        Now of course I don’t know if this is what went down, but if you play the scenario in your head, it can easily happen in ten seconds. Maybe the officer was overzealous and it was a wrongful shoot. I just find it a shame that we are quick to judge without all the facts.
        And I don’t know a single officer that is afraid of the citizens owning guns either.
        Always good talking to you brother.

        • Hardnox says:

          I’m with you. We should not be too quick to judge.

          Think about this: the cop makes the call, tells the kid to drop the gun, fires 7 rounds, then calls the station all in a span of 10 seconds. If you remove the two calls and firing 7 shots – what’s that leave?

  9. Kathy says:

    Welcome, JOB, it’s been a long time. It’s always good to hear the opinions of others, but bear in mind, it is just that – another opinion, which is never absolutely correct or incorrect. Nor is one opinion any better than another. You are not entitled to judge our opinions, and deem them wrong simply because you disagree.

    The fact is a kid ended up with seven bullet holes in him because of one person’s assessment and rush to judgment.

    • J.O.B. says:

      The fact is a kid lost his life because he was walking around with a toy gun that looked identical to an assault weapon. He was too young to comprehend police commands. And the officer could not identify the weapon as only a toy.

      Everyone on this site claims to be a champion of the Constitution as I do. But what about this officers due process? Even in your reply to me Kathy, you assume guilt on the part of the officer, even though not all facts are in. It may not have been a rush in judgement. It may turn out to be a justifiable shoot. It may not. We don’t know yet.

      So I’m not entitled to judge the opinions of anyone, but we are entitled to place guilt on this officer before receiving all the facts?

      If I offended anyone with my original comment, I apologize. It was not my intention. But the police have a tough job. It’s even tougher in a more urban area. We are placing guilt on this officer without all the evidence, and that is not right.

      • Kathy says:

        Funny how you never have input on anything else we talk about except a couple of cop stories I’ve posted – once at the old place and now this one. If I didn’t know better, I’d start to take this personally.

        My humblest apologies for placing blame on cops who fired seven rounds into a person, then handcuffed said person, then rendered first aid. I’m not LE, but I know it doesn’t take seven shots to stop a ‘suspect’, and after those seven shots, he’s not going to need first aid. As Abby would say, ‘Something is hinky here.’

        Ok, JOB. I’m listening…what other evidence can we expect to see? And from whom? Our primary witness can’t talk at the moment.

        • J.O.B. says:

          Kathy, the reason I don’t comment frequently is because I disagree with a lot of ideas posted on this blog, and I’ve learned throughout the years blogging that if you express different viewpoints, it usually ends contentiously. But Hardnox and myself always seemed to get along and respect one another even in our differences. The reason I comment on the police stories you post is because I feel like I can offer some personal insight. But now you are becoming clearly agitated which was truly never my intention. All I can do now is offer you my deepest apologies, and refrain from commenting on your posts. Sorry and I hope there’s no hard feelings.

          • Kathy says:

            So, because I’ve become ‘agitated’, you apologize and walk away? No, there are no hard feelings but I have to ask, where are your convictions? Why are you not ready to back up what you say and present some potential evidence contrary to our ‘judgments’?

            You say that you want to offer some personal insight, yet at the slightest sign of confrontation, you’re walking away, instead of trying to convince me to change my mind.

            You said we need to wait for more evidence and I asked what further evidence could be produced. I stand behind my question – what else could they produce from the scene that would support what the officer did?

            • J.O.B. says:

              “My humblest apologies for placing blame on cops who fired seven rounds into a person, then handcuffed said person, then rendered first aid. I’m not LE, but I know it doesn’t take seven shots to stop a ‘suspect’, and after those seven shots, he’s not going to need first aid. As Abby would say, ‘Something is hinky here.’

              Yes the cop (only one fired his weapon) fired seven rounds into the kid. According to the coroner two were fatal. This means the officer may have fired the first five rounds into non lethal entry points attempting to drop the perceived suspect or at least the weapon. The kid may not have fallen to the ground or drop his weapon at which point the officer fired two more shots. The events may not have occurred this way but two things are certain. First, it could happen in under ten seconds and second, there is no proof saying otherwise at this point. What we know for sure is that there were seven entry wounds, but only two were fatal. After a suspect is down, it is procedure to cuff him/her immediately. Then vitals are taken. If a pulse is not found, first aid/CPR is performed. This is normal procedure for any situation involving a suspect with no pulse. Even if the suspect is a lifelong criminal who just robbed a bank, CPR would have still been administered. I feel important to state this because you portray these events to be an admission of guilt by the officer. It is not, just procedure. Normally it does not take seven shots to stop a suspect. Sometimes it may only takes one to get a suspect to drop his weapon. There are other times where police have fired more than twelve rounds into a suspect high on PCP before the offender went to the ground. Maybe we should train police to tell if a suspect holding an assault weapon (or pellet gun) is high on PCP, or at an age of heightened testosterone which leads to increased adrenaline.

              ” what else could they produce from the scene that would support what the officer did?”
              The first thing is more eye witness testimony. One thing to keep in mind is that there are witnesses being interviewed, probably at this very moment, that will not be fully disclosed because of FBI involvement, not too mention Internal Affairs involvement, which I assure you, IA is involved.
              The second is on board camera which Bill eluded to. We do not know if one was involved or not, and probably won’t until the investigation has concluded.
              The third is the testimony of the newby ride-a-long. Trust me, this kid is getting grilled. And you may believe in this blue shield, but if anyone is ratting out a partner for illegal activity, it’s a rookie with his whole career ahead of him.
              The fourth may or may not be red light cams. I don’t know where this park was that this kid got shot, but it is a possibility there was a camera somewhere, other than a possible dashcam.
              The fifth is science. Forensic science nowadays is amazing. They can take the shooting officer’s statement, and from there determine trajectory of gunfire and find out what point fatal gun shots hit.

              Now I have two questions for you Kathy.
              First, you are portraying this officer to be guilty. How come you portrayed George Zimmerman to be innocent? Better yet, what is the difference between Andy Lopez, and Trayvon Martin?
              Second, Why is there not more outrage at the toy gun industry? I don’t want to get into a debate about guns here, because I think everyone here believes in our right to own, possess, and carry firearms. But a gun is a tool. A tool used to hunt and defend ourselves against harm. BB guns are not tools though. They are toys. Toys used by kids. Why do they need to look so much like authentic weapons? Maybe because they sell better? Must be, because the toy manufacturers and retailers lobbied against laws in California that would prevent toy guns looking like real weapons. However, I haven’t read a single comment on this post, or the you published before expressing outrage at the fact that the toys are made to look like real guns. Everyone seems to be hung up on one fact, that seven shots were fired.
              I would like to link some articles for everyone.

              http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/news/2012/04/26/nypd-cops-fire-84-rounds-at-murder-suspect.aspx
              This one’s good because 84 shots were fired by two officers. offender was hit 14 times before dropping his weapon.

              http://www.gazette.net/article/20130110/NEWS/130119926/1016/mount-airy-man-killed-in-shootout-with-deputies&template=gazette

              http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/6199620-Why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job/
              But here’s a local one.

  10. myfoxmystere says:

    If you wonder why the FBI got involved, Attorney General Kountry Klub Kamala Harris is soft on crime. Also, she’d welcome the FBI to do her dirty work to keep the dirt out from under her nails.

  11. myfoxmystere says:

    One more thing: I’m glad I’m 500 Miles away from that shooting; at least it’s a bit more sane in Orange County California. Even the dumpiest city of Santa Ana shows more restraint than what happened up north in Santa Rosa. I’m only 15 Miles from Los Angeles, and 2 Miles from the LA County borders.

    Now if the teen did something stupid after he got the warning, it’s too bad he got hit 7 times, but he’ll still be at fault for his own death. We’ll have to see the evidence and see where this goes.

  12. Buck says:

    J.O.B.
    Like most of us Kathy has been witness to police abuses in the past that were covered up from the top down. I remember a case in Texas where the cop in the yard shot a woman in her house for holding a kitchen knife. Other towns have had a problem with excessive force. In the Zimmerman case he claimed self defense and deserved the full presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.
    In the case of a police officer that shot a suspect seven times…well, that deserves a little more.
    As far as going after the toy manufacturing companies why not go after the cop who killed a young lad that would still have been within his rights to carry a rifle even if the rifle had been real and not a toy….

    • J.O.B. says:

      If anyone has been a victim of police misconduct I sincerely understand their mistrust. And considering that this incident is a powder keg and it involves a rookie police officer, I feel there’s going to be little chance for facts to be hidden. But until the investigation is done, I’m not ready to presume this officer guilty.

      “As far as going after the toy manufacturing companies why not go after the cop who killed a young lad that would still have been within his rights to carry a rifle even if the rifle had been real and not a toy….”

      First thing Buck, I think this investigation will be intense. I find it hard to believe that any evidence will be hidden. Bill’s comment was spot on. When a boy is shot holding a toy, s##t is going to hit the fan. Rightful firing or not. I can’t envision anything in this case getting swept up under the rug.
      Second thing. I read a comment before regarding this kid’s right to carry an actual weapon. I did not start shooting and purchasing guns until I was 21, so I’m still sort of ignorant about gun laws. Did this boy really have the right to walk around with a rifle? I had to get a FOID card to purchase my guns. Are those laws different in other states?

      • Kathy says:

        I found this on Wikipedia about CA gun laws

        “Open carry of loaded or unloaded firearms in public is generally prohibited, although open carry may be allowed in unincorporated rural areas under certain circumstances.”

        Their gun laws are pretty screwy, but it looks like we’re wrong as to whether or not he could have open carried a real gun, especially for his age.

        Also found this at a site called laws.com, but I’m not sure about their reliability.

        “No minor under the age of sixteen may possess a handgun, unless under the supervision and accompaniment of a parent or legal guardian while participating in activities that involve firearms; expressed written consent is also acceptable. This restriction also includes any kind of ammunition as well, not just firearms.”

        • J.O.B. says:

          Yeah Kathy, I don’t know. I know there’s no age restriction on the second amendment, but I would be surprised if it was legal for a thirteen year old boy to walk around with a rifle. But thanks for the links.