SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A vigil was held on Sunday in Santa Rosa to mark 10 years since 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy.
Andy was walking down the street carrying a toy rifle, that police said looked real.
"I am only a mother in soul and in grief, who died along with her son," Andy Lopez's mother, Sujey, said through a translator. "I want to make a special appreciation to all those people who since day number one have been in the struggle for justice for my beloved son Andy."
In October 2013, deputies on patrol, spotted the teen walking in a vacant lot, carrying an air-soft pellet gun - a toy rifle - which sheriff's officials later said resembled an assault rifle. Andy was shot by Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus seven times.
"To remember Andy Lopez is to honor and remember the fact that there is still a lot of work to do," said Santa Rosa School Board trustee.
Medina was among those who took to the streets to protest the shooting after the county’s District Attorney at the time decided not to charge Gelhaus, calling his death ‘tragic but lawful.’
The Lopez family later settled a civil lawsuit with Sonoma County for $3 million. Gelhaus was later promoted and then retired with a pension.
At Sunday's vigil, Andy’s father addressed those attending the vigil.
"My intension is to make you wake up and open your eyes and really know that there is no justice," Andy Lopez's father, Rodrigo, said through a translator.
In 2013, under pressure from Andy's family and the community, a special task force was created to develop law enforcement reforms and accountability.
In a statement to KTVU, the Sonoma County Sheriff's office noted, "That was a trying time for our community. Since then, there have been numerous changes in Sheriff’s office policy. In addition, the Sheriff’s office has implemented several programs for outreach, community engagement, and transparency that allow us to serve our community better."
The lot where Andy was killed has since been turned into a park, which now bears his name.