SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A 13-year-old California boy carrying a replica of an assault rifle was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies who believed the gun was real, a local newspaper reported.
The incident took place in the Northern California community of Santa Rosa on Tuesday, a day after a 12-year-old boy killed a teacher and wounded two fellow students at a Nevada middle school with a gun he likely brought from home.
In California, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office could not immediately be reached to confirm the details of the incident involving the 13-year-old, saying in a press release only that deputies had shot and killed “an unidentified male” carrying a replica of an assault weapon.
The press release did not identify that person as a juvenile. But the child’s father, Rodrigo Lopez, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that the person killed was his son, Andy, who he said had been carrying a toy gun.
Asked about the shooting incident, the county coroner’s office said it could not release the name of the person who was shot because he was a juvenile.
The sheriff’s department said the deputies involved had been patrolling in Santa Rosa, which is about 55 miles north of San Francisco, at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday when they saw someone who appeared to be holding an assault weapon.
“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.”
After securing the area, deputies realized that the weapon was a replica, the press release said. They also found a plastic handgun.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, and the incident is being investigated by the Santa Rosa Police Department as well as other law enforcement agencies, officials said.