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The Justification of Andy Lopez's Death Essay

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The Justification of Andy Lopez’s Tragic Death

On October 22, 2013, Andy Lopez, a young teenager at the age of thirteen years old, was shot and killed by a Sonoma County deputy named Erik Gelhaus. The community has taken sides either criticizing the officers actions, or supporting them. Whether the arguments are based on race or police abuse of power, we can clearly see step by step why officer Gelhaus did what he did from the first time he spotted Lopez, when he fired the shots, and by what actions he took after the fatal shootings. When looking at the circumstance as a whole, one can understand that Gelhaus's actions were justified and was done only to protect the community.

At around 3:14 pm. Santa Rosa Police officer Erick Gelhaus and his partner, a trainee, were patrolling Moorland Avenue located just before the outskirts of Santa Rosa. Gelhaus who was sitting in the passenger side of the police vehicle, then spotted an individual (now known to be Andy Lopez) with his back facing towards them walking down the street holding what appeared to be an AK-47 assault rifle (Johnson). The trainee officer then stopped the vehicle just a mere 20 to 30 feet away, allowing for Gelhaus to quickly step out and order Lopez to drop the weapon (Chea). Many community members argue that the trainee officer should have gone out of the police vehicle with Gelhaus if Lopez was indeed a threat to the community. The trainee officer however did not exit the vehicle since “at that point Deputy Gelhaus had already engaged the subject, with the commands and with the weapon. The threat was essentially over” (Johnson). This explains why the trainee officer remained in the police vehicle during the confrontation.

The Santa Rosa offic...


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...her life saving techniques on Lopez's body after discovering the AK-47 was actually a BB gun further proves the innocence of Galhaus and his actions (O’Leary). He did not want Lopez to be killed when he was not even posing any danger to the public. If he had known the weapon was a BB gun, Galhaus would have not shot Lopez.




Works Cited
Associated Press. “Report: Deputy Shot Andy Lopez Before Partner Left Car.” NBC Bay Area 30 Oct. 2013: n. pag. Print.
Chea, Terence, Sudhin Thanawala Thanawala, and Associated Press. “13-Year-Old With Pellet Gun Shot 7 Times by Police.” ABC News 24 Oct. 2013: n. pag. Print.
Cohen, Ronnie. “Calif. Deputy Waited Seconds Before Shooting Boy With Toy Rifle: Lawsuit.” Reuters [San Francisco] 7 Jan. 2014: n. pag. Print.
O’Leary, Dennis. Officer Involved Shooting Incident. Santa Rosa: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, n.d. Print.



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