LOS ANGELES — A sheriff’s deputy mistakenly thought he saw a teen carrying an assault rifle on a California street this week and shot him dead, authorities said.
It turned out the 13-year-old boy was carrying two fake guns, a replica AK-47 and a fake hand gun, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office said.
The Tuesday shooting is being investigated, the sheriff’s office said.
School officials in the northern California city of Santa Rosa identified the teen as Andy Lopez Cruz.
“The Santa Rosa City School District family is deeply saddened by the loss of Andy Lopez Cruz,” a school system statement said. “This is a tragic event for family, schools and the community. His administrators and teachers will remember him as kind, intelligent and capable.”
Two Sonoma County deputies spotted the boy holding what appeared to be an assault rifle Tuesday afternoon, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s office said.
They pulled over “but maintained cover behind their open passenger door,” the press release said.
They yelled at the teen to put the weapon down. He had his back to them and began turning around towards the officers, the statement said.
“One of the deputies described that as the subject was turning toward him the barrel of the assault rifle was rising up and turning in his direction. The deputy feared for his safety, the safety of his partner, and the safety of the community members in the area,” the statement said.