There was No Excuse for the Police to Shoot 13 Year Old Andy Lopez

As you read this story check out yesterday’s Flashpoints radio show on KPFA that gives up to the minute details as to what went down with the killing of Andy Lopezmany of the reporters from our station live up in Sonoma County and are very familiar with the community..

RIP Andy Lopez

RIP Andy Lopez

The death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez at the hands of sheriff deputies in Santa Rosa should not be treated as something that is routine, even though death at the hands of the police in Black and Brown communities happens far too often…

The death of Andy Lopez should not be excused because he was carrying what police described as a realistic looking toy gun…In an age where we have hundreds of video games, reality shows, HD movies etc, realism in toys is a fact of life and police officers are well paid and have extensive training to 1-know the difference and 2-deal with that reality..

In other words, lets not get it twisted and start thinking that Black and Brown kids are the only ones with toy guns.. White kids have them as well. White kids run around with fake toy guns, paint ball guns and even real guns and don’t get shot by police who ‘feared for their lives’..

The faces of grieving white moms are not splattered across our TV sets because law enforcement shot their sons..Its always Black and Brown.. Contrast the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez  who shot no one and had a toy gun with that of James Holmes the man who shot up a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70… Even though there was concern he had explosive attached to him, he was APPREHENDED without incident.. He wasn’t blown away… We can cite dozens of examples where police manage to disarm ARMED people..

Why are they able to do this? Because they are trained. They practice and practice reacting to all sorts of hair-raising scenarios. They train so that when they come across a 13-year-old with a fake gun, they don’t panic and start shooting..

But in the case of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, we are told he refused to put down the gun after police asked him twice. Are we to believe that he wanted to be shot? Was this 13-year-old doing death by suicide? Are we to believe he thought he could spook the police by pointing a fake gun at them? Was he a criminal on the run facing a 3rd strike and this was his last desperate stand? Why does a 13-year-old point a gun at well-trained better armed police?? It makes no damn sense.

Witnesses in Santa Rosa are noting the gun had an orange tip on it indicating it was a toy and that no one had called the police to complain.. More deatils on this case are emerging as we speak..

**Additional details to this tragedy.. Andy Lopez was shot in an open field where local kids go to play and do target practice with BB guns. He also had headphones on.. He was shot as he was turning around and then shot several more times as he on the ground. Police handcuffed before giving him CPR..more details to come..****

Sadly Andy Lopez joins a long line of victims killed by police who thought the folks they shot had a gun..We can look at actor Anthony Lee who was shot to death at a Halloween Party several years ago for holding a toy gun..Police shot through a window 9 times without warning when he raised up his gun. They ignored white guests dressed as cops who were standing nearby.  You can read that HERE.

Earlier this year police in San Jose had to pay nearly 5 million dollars to Javier Gonzales-Guerrero who was also at a Halloween Party when he was shot. In Guerrero’s case he had fallen asleep holding his fake gun which was part of his costume. Police approached him woke him up, ignored his pleas not to shoot and shot him 20 times.. He was left with bullets in his spine.. You can Read about that HERE

Not sure what it’s going to take for this to cease..But obviously there are far too many trigger happy cops.. There are far too many instances where they life is not valued and they see an enemy or an animal and not a son, daughter and fellow human being.. There was no excuse to shoot Andy Lopez.

There is a Facebook support page for Andy Lopez ..You can access it HERE

Our heartfelt condolences to the family. We can only imagine what they are going through and how they are feeling..

photo; Tess Unger

photo; Tess Unger




  1. This is heartbreaking. It’s hard to feel any hope this will change, after all this time, and all these deaths, and they’re still happening. Do we have to warn our kids how to act and what are the safer costumes on Halloween now, as well as how to act if cops stop them in traffic for not signalling, if they don’t want to get shot?

  2. It’s getting me down too. There are way more of these cases than I can track.

  3. Two quotes from your post say it all…

    “James Holmes the man who shot up a theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70… Even though there was concern he had explosive attached to him, he was APPREHENDED without incident.. He wasn’t blown away”


    “We can cite dozens of examples where police manage to disarm ARMED people..

    Why are they able to do this? Because they are trained. They practice and practice reacting to all sorts of hair-raising scenarios. They train so that when they come across a 13-year-old with a fake gun, they don’t panic and start shooting..”

    IMHO the latter are public servants – the officer/s whose poor judgment took a young life are just employees in an out of control prison economy. An economy where arrests rates and incarceration investments matter more than any service to community..

    The mandatory minimum proposal coming out of Chicago and the $180M proposal for Richmond “detention” based “re-entry” (oxymoron) center, demonstrate the instransigence of folks who profit from prison economy.

    Counting on you to connect the dots… per usual Mr. D!

  4. This is full of untruths. There was no orange tip on the toy gun. It was purposely modified to look real by someone.

  5. Why did a 12 year old run from police and not put the gun down? I am saddened by this and have 5 and 7 year old boys that are not allowed to have anything that looks like a gun… They are also taught if someone is speaking to them like a policeman to listen. My children are beige or peach if you compare them to crayola crayons.

    • Are you referring to Andy? Because he did not run. He was told to put his weapon down, twice. Within seconds ONE AND ONLY ONE OF THE TWO deputies opened fire and shot him 7 times. One or two of the bullets entered through his back, right side (gun was in his left hand). The rest of the bullets were in his right side and one in the chest. It seems to me that Andy heard someone yell at him and probably turned around to see what was going on and who was yelling. WOULDN’T YOU? He didn’t know they were real deputies. Why did the second officer not fire if Andy was such a danger? There are too many questions and the prelim autopsy only engendered more questions.

    • Did you not read the story? He had on headphones. He did not run. He only turned around.

  6. GODDESS CINDY says:

    All living beings regardless of the body their in and the color of skin/fur/feathers are brutalized by the police. Use speech that Unites!

  7. The sad part is the citizens who see this case and have the audacity to defend the police officers and continuously make excuses for them, even when presented with facts and examples (as you pointed out above). This is a travesty that’s on the rise, but due to the shades of the victims, not much has been done to stop it. This case, as with others, makes me ill. NO EXCUSES.

    • Have you ever had a conversation with a police officer to know what it is like to be in their shoes?

      Daughter and sister of NOPD and live with my family in San Francisco.

      • As matter of fact I spoke with my brother yesterday..

        • I am assuming that your brother is a first responder of some sorts. Correct? If so it shocks me that you feel so strongly against police officers.

          • Don’t get me wrong this is a senseless killing and now we have a 12 year old with a promising future dead. Where does the responsibility lie? Police, Parents, 12 year old? I would like his to have not happened and care deeply that it did. The issue is how do we prevent it from happening again? Police Training, Parental Training, and training on how to react when a gun is pointed at you. I have question marks behind my questions for reasons.

      • I actually have some very close friends who do work in law enforcement, so I have learned a whole lot about what they do, and have even more respect for law enforcement because of that. However, the truth is that law enforcement often makes mistakes, and lack of proper training can lead to unfortunate deaths, which are disproportionately high amongst people of color, like this young man. That’s just statistics speaking, not my own opinion. This case is sad for all involved, that’s the reality.

    • “Police can be improved. Here’s how: overcome the four obstacles, select the best and brightest to serve, listen to what they and the community have to say, train and lead them collaboratively and respectfully, continuously improve all systems of work, honestly survey “citizen-customers,” evaluate progress, and work to sustain the effort.”
      “It’s about time we in America started thinking about what’s happening to our nation’s police and do something about it. If you’re white, middle class and don’t drive a car, the likelihood of meeting police face-to-face is slim. But when you do, or your children are confronted, don’t you expect police to be law-abiding, well-trained, restrained, respectful? If we don’t do something soon, there is more at stake than losing our dignity.”
      Chief Couper, chief of police in Madison, WI
      Please sign the petition.

  8. Are you sure that there even WAS an Anthony Lopez. It could have been made up, so the police, and all the vendors vying for city public funds, have A MADE-UP PRETENSE to gather? Is it a true story? Look at this:

  9. Americans need to stand up and say that our police force can be improved, MUST be improved. Please sign the petition demanding change.
    “To understand why our nation’s police departments are riddled with lawsuits one need look no further than the hiring process. Character traits such as a short temper, rush to judgment and lack of empathy are not learned AFTER being hired. They were there the whole time but nobody bothered to look for them. Until we get serious about hiring the RIGHT people for this job we will continue to see police abuse our citizens’ constitutional rights. It’s up to us to push for positive change in our law enforcement agencies.” Mark Bowers, 10-year law enforcement veteran

  10. This page is anti police propaganda. Police tell you to drop a gun, you drop it. Police don’t wait to be shot at. Why was this kid walking around with a realistic looking gun? HE POINTED IT AT THE POLICE!!!!!! Wake up America and take responsibility for your own actions.

  11. Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying that this wasn’t a horrible tragedy. But, there are reports that state that the orange tip had been removed from the gun, which made it appear like a real gun. None of us know all the facts, BUT if the gun that he was holding looked realistic and it appeared that he was not following their commands and posed a threat, then the officer’s perception of danger was quite real. Of course, there are other factors that have to be looked at in this situation, and I’m in no way blind to the fact that Brown and Black boys are at greater risk, everywhere they go, no matter what they do. I have two biracial sons, and I’m well aware of the dangers they face, all the way around, every day. And if Andy Lopez was killed because a good cop truly felt that he and his partner (and others) were in danger, then it was a horrific mistake…but I know that there’s also the chance that is not the case. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions without hearing more.

  12. reptile killer says:

    My two cousins are African American(if I can use that) BOTH ARE COPS, and they like other black cops don’t go around so scared they have to kill people. Something wicked this way came!!