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Students take to streets in protest of Santa Rosa boy's fatal shooting

  • Protesters yell near the front door of the Sonoma County Sheriff's offices in the county center in Santa Rosa on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013.The mostly student protest group marched around Santa Rosa for justice in the death of Andy Lopez, 13. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

In an unprecedented, sustained show of public emotion, hundreds of protesters — many of them children — marched for a third straight day Friday to demand justice for 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was shot and killed Tuesday by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy.

Standing amid hundreds of students who chanted, cursed and waved homemade signs as they converged on the Sheriff's Office, Jeronimo Carmona held aloft his own handwritten banner.

“A badge is not a license to kill,” it read.

Protest March For Andy Lopez 10.25.13

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Carmona, a seventh-grader at Cook Middle School, was a classmate and friend of Lopez, an eighth-grader who attended Cook until Oct. 18. Lopez, 13, was walking along Moorland Avenue in unincorporated, southwest Santa Rosa carrying a BB gun that resembled an automatic weapon when he was killed.

He was shot by a veteran deputy after being ordered to drop the weapon, according to Santa Rosa police, who are conducting an investigation into the shooting.

As Lopez turned toward two deputies, the boy raised the barrel in the deputy's direction, according to the law enforcement account.

But friends of Lopez who marched for hours through downtown Santa Rosa shouting “No justice, no peace!” said a veteran officer should have recognized that the object in Lopez's left hand was a BB gun.

“He should have known. He is a sheriff. He should have known that it was a fake,” Carmona said.

Friday's march began around 10 a.m. and stretched from points on Sebastopol Road to City Hall, where people rallied and encouraged passers-by to honk. Just before noon, the crowd headed north on Mendocino Avenue toward the Sheriff's Office on Ventura Avenue.

“We are here to support the family and to show Andy we are going to get justice for him,” said Maria Arreguin, an Elsie Allen ninth-grader who had known Lopez since the second grade at Bellevue Elementary School.

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