SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) - Students from three different Sonoma County middle schools walked out of class Friday to protest the fatal shooting of a teenager carrying a replica assault rifle.
The students headed to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office to demand answers in the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez on Tuesday.
The marchers chanted "Justice for Andy," "No Justice No Peace", "Justice Now" and "Andy! Andy! Andy!"
They carried many signs, among them "A Badge Is Not A License To Kill," "Killer Cops Off Our Streets," "Jail The Killer Cops" and "Land Of The Prosecuted, Home of The Cowards."
The sheriff's office said a deputy twice told the boy to drop the weapon, but he instead raised it in the deputy's direction.
Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry said the deputy fired eight shots in 10 seconds as Lopez turned toward him when he was ordered to drop the gun. A preliminary autopsy report showed the deputy shot Lopez seven times.
Assistant Sonoma County Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said the deputy who shot Lopez is a 24-year veteran who has been working as a field training officer since 2007.
On Friday students, parents and teachers were struggling to understand what happened. "He was 13-years-old," said Eddie Sanchez, whose son was a friend and classmate with Lopez at Lawrence Cook Middle School. "Just the thought of it gets me choked up."
"When I picked [my son] up Tuesday afternoon, I asked him 'did you hear about the little boy?' He started crying and he told me, 'Dad, I don't want to talk about it' and I said, 'well we need to talk about it.' And he said, 'the cops are supposed to be protecting us, why are they killing us?'"
Sanchez took his son out of school Friday morning so they could join protesters in their march to the sheriff's office.
Kids from several middle and high schools in the area said their parents gave them permission to walk out of class to rally.
"He was a really good guy," said friend Abby Mendoza. "We were, like, best friends from kindergarten to sixth grade. Me and him went out for like a day because someone dared him to."
"He was kind, never put anyone down," said another friend Magaly Bejaran. "He was a pretty, like, close friend and he was, like, always there for people."
The number of students, parents and other supporters marching was estimated to be in the hundreds.
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