Santa Rosa, Calif. — Several hundred people rallied and marched here on June 7, which would have been the week of Andy Lopez’s 14th birthday. Young Lopez was shot and killed on Oct. 22, 2013, by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus for holding a toy rifle in a field near his home.
The march was led by the Danza Azteca Coyolxauqui plus contingents from Andy’s Youth and the Windsor Bloco Youth Ensemble. Supporters came all the way from Los Angeles, Fresno and Oakland to demand a just response to the youth’s killing.
Dennis Bone, program director of the Windsor Bloco Youth Ensemble, described his feeling about “that day Andy was just being a kid” when he was carrying a toy gun. “You can’t judge how a 13-year-old acts and treat them like an adult. At Windsor Bloco, kids can be kids, we respect and honor that. Andy’s life should not have ended that way.”