By Bay City News Service
A Santa Rosa school community is in mourning Wednesday after an eighth-grader was shot and killed by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies on Tuesday afternoon.
Andy Lopez, 13, was a student at Lawrence Cook Middle School, Assistant Principal Linsey Gannon said this morning.
According to the sheriff's office, at the time of the shooting Andy was carrying a replica rifle that deputies believed to be a real gun.
The shooting occurred around 3 p.m. near the corner of West Robles and Moorland avenues, southwest of Santa Rosa.
Two deputies on patrol saw a male with a gun in that area and called for backup, sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said. The deputies ordered the male to drop the gun then fired several shots at him, O'Leary said.
Andy then fell to the ground on top of the rifle, and the deputies ordered him to move away from the gun. When he did not move, the deputies went to handcuff him and realized he was unresponsive, O'Leary said.
The deputies secured the rifle and called for medical personnel, but Andy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Deputies discovered that the rifle was a replica, and found that that the teen also had a plastic gun in his waistband, O'Leary said.
This morning, Andy's friends posted mournful messages on his Facebook page. "Bye Andy R.I.P." one friend wrote.
Grief counselors and therapy dogs were on hand at Cook Middle School this morning, Gannon said.
"Our community is very shaken by this tragedy," she said. "He was a very popular student."
Andy was also a talented musician who played the trumpet, Gannon said.
"He was a handsome young man with many friends and a lovely family. He will be missed," she said.
Gannon was unable to confirm reports that Andy had just transferred to another school last week.
The deputies involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave while Santa Rosa and Petaluma police and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office investigate the incident.
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