A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in California Tuesday afternoon, after he failed to drop what was determined to be a replica gun.
Deputies appear to have thought the object the boy was carrying was a high-powered rifle, said Santa Rosa sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary, according to the Associated Press.
They apparently discovered only after the shooting that it was a plastic toy, which the boy's father said his son had been carrying for a friend.
“First I heard a single siren and within seconds I heard seven shots go off, sounded like a nail gun, is what I thought it was,” said area resident Brian Zastrow to the Santa-Rosa Press Democrat. “After that I heard multiple sirens.”
The dead boy has been identified as Andy Lopez by his father, Rodrigo, says the Santa-Rosa Press Democrat, which added that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is still waiting on more information, reports Reuters, but has offered an official account of the incident.
"The two deputies repeatedly ordered the subject to drop the rifle and at some point immediately thereafter, the deputies fired several rounds from their handguns at the subject striking him several times," the department said. "The subject fell to the ground and landed on top of the rifle he was carrying."
“Why did they kill him? Why?” asked the boy's mother, Sujey Annel Cruz Cazarez, according to the Press Democrat.