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Southwest Santa Rosa on edge after Andy Lopez shooting

  • Gaby Camacho, left, and her three younger brothers, from left, Angel, Julio and Israel, on Friday read over signs posted on the fence near the site where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed Tuesday by a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy in Santa Rosa. (Conner Jay / PD)

SOUTHWEST SANTA ROSA — Andy Lopez grew up on the same block where he was shot to death last week by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy.

Moorland Avenue cuts a straight path past the vacant field where the number of candles, balloons and signs in the makeshift memorial to the 13-year-old boy grows by the day.

Parallel to Highway 101 and under the constant rumble of its traffic noise, households along this busy 1-mile street are among the poorest and most heavily Latino in Sonoma County, according to school and census data.

Protest March For Andy Lopez 10.25.13

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At Moorland's northern end are lower-income townhouses and apartments. To the south, where earthen drainage ditches take the place of sidewalks, older houses and mobile homes sit on acreage. It's a neighborhood loosely stitched to the southwestern outskirts of Santa Rosa but within the jurisdiction of county government.

But now, five days after a veteran deputy shot and killed Lopez, this community stands as a place altogether apart, many of its residents feeling pushed to the edge.

“Being silent in a situation like this is like killing yourself, because it will one day happen to your child,” said Oscar Corona, who teaches catechism at St. Eugene's Cathedral in Santa Rosa and who read a rosary for Lopez on Friday at the site of the shooting.

Whether the sentiment is justified or not, many residents here say they have long endured the heavy hand of law enforcement. They say the blows have come in routine traffic stops, the impoundment of their cars, the deportation of relatives and the detention of their children on curbs for seemingly no reason.

At 3:14 p.m. Tuesday, they say, a new line was crossed. That was when two sheriff's deputies spotted Lopez and reported to dispatchers a suspicious person. Ten seconds later, the eighth-grader was shot dead on a sidewalk a half-mile north of his current Moorland Avenue home, near the intersection with West Robles Avenue.

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