(SOURCE) A week and a day after a 13-year-old boy carrying a replica rifle was killed by a deputy who thought his AK-47 lookalike was real, protesters marched through the normally quiet city where he was shot, and friends and family said a final goodbye to the 8th grade trumpet player at his funeral.
Thousands showed up in Santa Rosa, Calif. for a noon rally, carrying signs that read “We are all Andy Lopez, the whole damn system is guilty,” and “Andy did not have to die.”
Meanwhile, authorities were imploring people not to bring replica rifles to the Tuesday events, as they said some did last week. An unknown number of demonstrators brought fake guns to some of the vigils to protest the death of Andy Lopez – a boy who was killed carrying a gun that resembled an assault rifle – and at least one person waved one around “in a threatening manner,” creating “unnecessary risks for all involved,” Santa Rosa police said in a statement.
The grief and outrage over Andy, hit with seven bullets fired by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy on Oct. 22, has spilled beyond the small North Bay city of Santa Rosa, where the Lawrence Middle School student lived.
In Oakland on Tuesday, for example, buses left at 8 a.m. to drive people the 50-or-so miles to Santa Rosa. Many were part of the group Justice 4 Alan Blueford, in memory of the 18-year-old who died in an officer-involved shooting in Oakland last May. Most on board backed Andy and his family.
“They always justify the killing,” Dionne Smith of Oakland said; her 16-year-old was also killed two years ago by police.
“This was a tragedy,” said Debra Mendoza of Alameda. “That could have been my son.”