SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A federal appeals court has court has upheld a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by a Sonoma county sheriff’s deputy four years ago in Santa Rosa.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said there is ample evidence for a jury to conclude that 13-year-old Andy Lopez did not pose an immediate danger to Deputy Erick Gelhaus, when Gelhaus shot him seven times.
Lopez was holding a very realistic looking airsoft rifle. Gelhaus said he thought it was a real gun.
The court said there is evidence that the boy did not raise the barrel of the gun as Gelhaus claimed.
Despite widespread protests, prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against Deputy Gelhaus.
Gelhaus is still with the sheriff’s department and has been promoted to sergeant.
You can read the court documents here.