A teenager carrying a replica AK-47 was shot and killed by police officers near Santa Rosa, California on Tuesday afternoon. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police rolled up behind Andy Cruz in a squad car, confronted him about the perceived weapon, and as he turned around, one of the officers fired several rounds.
In a press conference, Lt. Paul Henry said that the officers reported that the barrel of the toy gun was rising as Cruz turned around, and that "The deputy feared for his safety, the safety of his partner and the safety of the community members in the area."
Local police and the district attorney are investigating the incident, which has understandably angered many in the community. The 13-year-old's death appears to be a tragedy that could have been avoided, and one person described the police to the Chronicle as "trigger-happy." A statement from the Santa Rosa City School District said, "This is a tragic event for family, schools and the community. His administrators and teachers will remember him as kind, intelligent and capable."
The toy gun Cruz was carrying matched the black and brown segmentation of a real AK-47, but did not have an orange tip at the end of its barrel, a feature which is required by law. Henry said that the officers ordered Cruz to put the replica down at least twice while they sheltered behind their open car doors. After fatally wounding Cruz, they immediately approached and began life-saving measures.
According to CNN, the deputies involved are on extended leave.
[Pictured: a real AK-47, left, is presented next to Cruz's replica, right]