Various news outlets have named the Sonoma County Deputy that shot a 13 year old boy holding a broken airsoft rifle last week.
The sheriff’s deputy who shot dead a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy gun last week has been identified as a hunter, war veteran and firearms enthusiast who once urged other officers to turn on the ‘mean gene’ if they found themselves in ‘the kill zone.’
Officials confirmed on Monday Erick Gelhaus, 48, was the Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who mistook Andy Lopez’s fake AK-47 for a real rifle before he fatally shot the teen last Tuesday just outside Santa Rosa.
The deputy, who has received death threats after the incident that sparked outrage in the California community, has broad experience with guns and regularly contributed to law enforcement magazines and online forums, warning his comrades that they may be required to use lethal force to stay safe.
I’m certain that the media will spin his online commentary as much as possible to make him a villain (because that gets eyeballs and sells advertising), but I find it utterly irrelevant unless it betrays a real desire to “do battle,” and views all citizen contacts as hostile contacts as a default mode.
What is relevant? The amount of time given (less than ten seconds according to police), the warning given (just one, according to witnesses), and most importantly, the number shots fired and the angle of penetration that will establish whether Gelhaus shot Lopez in the back when he was standing, and how many shots he fired into the child while Lopez was down (if any).
The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.