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Not a Pop Tart: 13-year old with “toy” AK-47 shot and killed by police

Not a Pop Tart: 13-year old with “toy” AK-47 shot and killed by police

We have highlighted here many times the almost insane “zero tolerance” policies at school wherein students are disciplined, suspended and expelled for biting a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, bringing Quarter coin-sized gun keychain charms to school, and even pointing a pencil and saying “bang.”

And then there is this, a full-sized “toy” AK-47 which got a 13-year old shot by police, Authorities investigate fatal deputy-involving shooting of 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy:

Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 13-year-old boy Tuesday afternoon during an encounter in a southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood.

The boy’s father, Rodrigo Lopez, identified the teen as Andy Lopez and said he had been carrying a toy gun that belonged to a friend.

Santa Rosa and Petaluma police detectives are investigating the shooting. Interviews were conducted throughout Tuesday night, Santa Rosa Lt. Paul Henry said Wednesday morning….

It was unclear Tuesday whether the rifle, which sheriff’s officials characterized as a replica, was capable of firing BBs or other projectiles.

If that teenager had brought the “toy” AK-47 to school, I could understand school officials taking action.

That school policies cannot distinguish between a full-sized realistic looking toy weapon and a Pop Tart held by a 7-year old tells me that the rules themselves are broken.


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“It was unclear Tuesday whether the rifle, which sheriff’s officials characterized as a replica, was capable of firing BBs or other projectiles.”

“Unclear” to an idiot who does not have ANY knowledge of firearms OR the ability to do a simple internet search.

AirSoft toys DO fire a projectile. It is soft, as the name implies.

As I understand, they are also mandated by the Feds to have a bright orange muzzle to distinguish them from an actual firearm.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Ragspierre. | October 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Airsoft is a Japanese transliteration of English. The BBs are hard plastic and come in 19, 23, 25 and 40 gram weights. They are precision made for the close barrel tolerances of the better quality weapons. The 40 gram BBs are used in sniper weapons. Many of the BBs are now biodegradable and need to be stored indoors.

    They hurt, especially if you are shot from 25-feet or less. They leave hellacious welts, too. However, the only required safety equipment is a pair of ANSI-approved safety goggles or glasses with side protection.

    Spiny Norman in reply to Ragspierre. | October 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    So I go to the Airsoft Megastore and check out their AK-47 replica. It certainly looks like the one Lt Badger is holding up is missing the orange muzzle and front sight. Was it cut off? By whom?

Why was it necessary to kill a 13-year old boy? Did he point the gun at the cops? Did he fail to react to an order to put it down? Why? Was such an order given? Was having the gun enough for him to be killed?

The gun looks realistic, but I can’t help wondering if, in an age of increasing militarization of the nation’s police forces, the cops are treating the public as enemies rather than citizens to be served.

    Ragspierre in reply to Juba Doobai!. | October 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Growing up in the 50s, one of my most cherished toys was a very real-looking Thompson sub-machine gun that could be converted to several variants.

    If you watch a crime movie of the period, you’ll be impressed by how readily cops used their guns in those days.

    But no cop shot kids with toys, as I recall. Perhaps because there were no 14 year old killer gang-bangers in that period.

      tom swift in reply to Ragspierre. | October 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      One of my prized childhood possessions in the ’60s was an Arisaka rifle – a real one. We used it all the time playing “army” in the woods, and it didn’t cause any excitement. Nobody even noticed. And that was in Massachusetts – liberal even then, but not whacky liberal yet.

        Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | October 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm

        At eight I had my own .22 single-shot boy’s rifle.

        I never played with it as a toy, though. I killed stuff, including the rabbits that infested the Kuhlifornia hills.

Midwest Rhino | October 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hard to imagine cops so amped up about gun control, that they’d shoot to kill a 13 year old that obviously had not fired a shot.

I blame Obama and the left’s hyper sensationalism. The crowds marching for thug Trayvon and demanding the death of Zimmerman are more testimony to Obama’s pattern of enraging the masses to act irrationally, for his political gain.

If the replica was full size, you can see that someone hacked off the barrel forward of the gas blowback channel. (that rod looking thing attached to the top of the barrel just forward of the forestock.)

That means that the orange mandated by law orange tip was removed. Most likely so it would Look more real.

Though I’m very disturbed and angry at some of the shootings by police country wide lately, I cannot get too upset by this.

That replica as cut down looked very real and the kid who cut it down did that on purpose and the father of that kid should bear some responsibility for the aftermath.

That said, it’s also become apparent that it’s sop for cops to shoot anyone’s dog and to shoot unarmed civilians for little or no reason AND GET AWAY WITH IT.

That’s the part that’s bad.

Stercus accidit. But when it does, there should be proper punishment ladled out for those who think they are to free to shoot and ask questions later.

Trouble is, under the various departmental rules (which are written to reach this result) the officer’s are clear of responsibility.

Civilians had better start reining in the police or soon we won’t be able to.

    I R A Darth Aggie in reply to jakee308. | October 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I agree, the orange tip is missing. What I am unsure of is who removed it, or when it was removed.

    Go ahead, tell me no police officer would ever tamper with a crime scene. I could use a good laugh.

    The shooter(s) need to undergo a solid interrogation, just like any civilian shooter would get.

    tom swift in reply to jakee308. | October 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    If the tip was missing, then the police shot and killed a juvenile who was carrying a PART of a toy AK-47 rather than a complete one. It’s not obvious that that shows the police in a more favorable light.

    david7134 in reply to jakee308. | October 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Who gives a damn if the orange tip was present or not? What if the kid was carrying a real rifle? When did that become a crime? In the 50’s and 60’s we went about the neighborhood with our shotguns as we traveled to the nearest woods for some shooting. The fact is the kid had no intent and that is the true nature of the law. Cops are paid the big bucks to determine intent which means they might get shot at, big deal, many of us are exposed to danger from the public and don’t cry about it like the police. We have a cop problem in this country, not a gun problem, except that the cops have guns and we should really rethink that concept.

      JohnC in reply to david7134. | October 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I agree. So what if it didn’t have an orange tip? What are the police taught? If you don’t see orange start shooting? What did the kid physically do when he saw the police? Did he know it WAS the police? What kind of warning was he given? Is this a case of POP POP “Stop!” POP “Or we’ll shoot!” POP POP? Is it another case of ‘As long as you go home at the end of the day you can shoot anything you want. Especially dogs.”?

        Juba Doobai! in reply to JohnC. | October 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        Remember that woman in DC? The one who rammed the WH gates with her car? Unarmed. Why shoot her?

        I’m all for law and order, for appreciating the dangerous work that cops do, but it seems that the blue is becoming a license to kill, citizens.

          Uncle Samuel in reply to Juba Doobai!. | October 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

          The off-duty cop motorcycle gang incident where the cops got mad when their antics alarmed a driver and he felt he and his family were in danger and tried to get away accidently killing a cop. The rest of them chased, attacked and beat/paralyzed the driver.

          Most of the cops didn’t have valid motorcycle licenses. They were also clearly out of order in their road rage/antics.

          Uncle Samuel in reply to Juba Doobai!. | October 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm

          My point is that cops are not always the same quality and caliber of people we hope/wish/expect them to be.

      Eddie_Yost in reply to david7134. | October 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Not to disagree, but for perspective: Santa Rosa population:

      1950: ~18,000
      2012: ~170,000

      AS one matures in age, one’s perceptions are affected by population density.

    gregjgrose in reply to jakee308. | October 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    >> Stercus accidit.

    And requires an asshole be present.

“capable of firing BBs or other projectiles”

Hey, he could have put someone’s eye with that thing! By the way, I’m not an expert on airsoft guns, but I don’t believe they typically have orange tips.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Hockey Bum. | October 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    They are required by law. However, most are detachable, and on the high-end airsoft guns can actually be replaced with real AK or AR flash-hiders.

      Hockey Bum in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | October 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      15 CFR 272.1 excepts “traditional b-b, paint-ball, or pellet-firing air guns that expel a projectile through the force of compressed air, compressed gas or mechanical spring action, or any combination thereof” from the orange tip requirement. That would seem to include airsoft guns. State and local laws may require an orange tip, but Federal law doesn’t.

    Another Voice in reply to Hockey Bum. | October 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    How could you not have watched “The Christmas Story” and have no take away. It’s a classic because it is every generations memory. Kids being kids as posted herein by other posts, have a point of reference to what was “in” in their time. No one had to be killed in order to survive being a young boy growing up. What is being lost, is the ability to grow up and take responsibility and leaving the void with fear.

TrooperJohnSmith | October 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

A typical, high-end airsoft gun will fire a .23 gram plastic BB at around 325-450 FPS. It stings but won’t hurt you.

In the responsible “airsoft community” you never play with these in public and you handle, store and carry them like real guns.

Around 2000, when airsoft guns first came from the high-end makers in Japan and Hong Kong, they were $350-$800 dollars and largely confined to Mil-Sim players, many of whom are/were serving or former military. Organizations sprang up, which were always “Over 18” or “with a responsible adult”.

Essentially, it was grown-ups running around in the woods with electric or air-operated BB guns and eye protection. It was the next evolution of paintball. Ninety percent of airsofters had real-steel (i.e. real guns) experience, and that translated into the sport as safe and responsible handling.

However, about 2005, the ChiComs started building cheap, knock-off airsoft guns and selling them for $199 and up. Every kid wanted one. Clueless parents bought them. After all, it was a “toy”, right?

There is a Federal law regarding affixing a bright orange tip to a toy weapon. To serious airsoft players, that is the first thing removed or painted. Yeah, it’s a violation, but there are “transport tips” (i.e. removable), because the last thing that is natural in the woods or desert is fluorescent orange.

If you look at the photo of the toy weapon, the flash-hider (the thing on the end of the barrel that scares Feinstein) has been sawed off. The kids all do this, because their rap star heroes would never display an obvious toy. These toys have also been used in real crimes, and nobody could run that game with an orange tip.

I asked a cop friend his view on orange tips on toy weapons. He said that it might give him pause, if he actually sees it, but then he wondered aloud when the bad guys would start painting the tips of their real weapons orange. You know, to make that police officer pause for just a second… just long enough to give him an edge over the officer. Scary thought.

Need more info. The mere carrying of a weapon does not justify the police shooting the kid. Did they order him to drop it, and he refused? Did the kid point the gun at the police or someone else?

Given that the kid stupidly cut off the end to get rid of the orange tip, it was reasonable for police to assume at a glance that it was a real gun. But that still isn’t enough to justify shooting the kid. And of course a civilian who shot the kid in that situation would be charged with manslaughter at least (actual charge may vary depending on the races of the shooter and victim).

    tom swift in reply to Edgehopper. | October 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    “it was reasonable for police to assume at a glance that it was a real gun”

    It’s not clear that it’s a reasonable assumption. I’ve seen far more toys which look like one of the AK series than I’ve seen real rifles which look like them. Just going by the numbers, I’d have to assume the probabilities of a sighting being a real (and therefore dangerous) gun are low. Now, if gunshots had been reported in the area, or something similar which would support suspicions of a real gun in the area, that would be different. On the other hand, if carried by an obvious minor, the probability of it being a non-firearm go ‘way up.

The kid sounds like a [non-white] Hispanic. If the cop is white — heaven help us!

been watching this since it happened and one thing I have not been able to rule out is a 13 yr old being suddenly frightened and confused when he turns and sees cops pointing weapons at him.
so I am waiting for a bit more info before I get too riled up although I am LEANING towards this being a huge over reaction by the cops.
time will tell.

Al and Jesse (and the rest) are conspicuously silent because the boy’s last name is Lopez. No big deal to them if they can’t profit from it.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to ClinkinKy. | October 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Al’s over at Barney’s in NYC cuz he heard the kid who bought that $350 belt is gonna sue them and NYPD for having him arrested for buying while black, and justifiably so. Barney’s is suspicious of young blacks with money; they don’t believe some folks know how to save up to buy.

so ironic to see the same people decry the infantilization of one T. Martin defend the ‘baby’ with the ‘toy’ gun

    n.n in reply to Quint. | October 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Slamming someone’s head against the ground, repeatedly, is a real, immediate threat. Wielding a toy gun is a perceived, potential threat, which trained individuals should be capable of discerning and disarming.

    Ragspierre in reply to Quint. | October 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    What’s “ironic” is some boob conflating a 13 year old walking around with a toy with a 17 year old who was committing a furious assault on another.

      Look at you go. The transfiguration from rational thinker to disingenuous liberal is complete.

        Quint in reply to Quint. | October 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

        Let me play liberal too:

        Innocent baby draped in American flag cape, re-enacting invasion of Normandy, gunned down by fascist police while on his knees, after surrendering his toy. Witnesses claim they heard the infant somberly humming ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ before police opened fire. Investigators say he was wearing his grandfather’s medal of honor when shot.

The ROE for police officers is, apparently, less restrictive than for soldiers.

Forget AirSoft for a minute… in Texas it’s legal for met to open carry a real AK-47. Is that legal in California (probably a stupid question, but…)

Did he point it at the cops? That’s the most important question to me. If yes, then I want to know if it had an orange tip on it or not.

    look at the picture.
    no tip.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Paul. | October 25, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Only nntil the law down there accuses you of displaying it menacingly while you’re walking along with your Eagle Scout son on a merit badge hike and with your rifle over you shoulder muzzle pointing down. When the cops decide you’re doing that, because some nervous nelly who saw you from behind a window somewhere and felt scared, they will grab your rifle, manhandle you, arrest you, charge you with resisting, and force you to spend bucks on your legal defense.

Other reports say the two cops ordered the suspect to drop the gun several times before firing. One cop says the suspect turned around to face them and when he did that the barrel of the weapon came up to point in the direction of the cop.

Forget the age of the kid. The cops are seeing a rifle pointed in their direction and it looks like an AK-47. Sure, it’s an Airsoft replica, but it’s supposed to look like the real thing – that’s the appeal.

Some people are saying the Airsoft AK is shorter than the real thing. So what? Draco makes a Mini-Draco AK-46 pistol that is real, is shorter, and is deadly.

The cops realistically could have thought the kid’s “toy” (Airsoft guns are not “toys”) and fired in genuine fear for their safety and lives.

    imfine in reply to Indigo Red. | October 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    of course if you yell at someone from behind to stop and drop their weapon, they are probably going to turn around and see whats going on. The kid probably didn’t see it coming and had no idea he was in danger. you can’t take an expected gut response to someone yelling at them and use it as pretext to shoot them. Everyone had realistic looking toy guns growing up and cops didn’t go around shooting kids carrying them. they rightly assumed in most urban project settings, a kid carrying a guy is likely carrying a toy.

    Just because you are carrying a badge, it doesn’t excuse you from critical thinking. How is it we can expect much more from soldiers fighting in civilian populaces without any background in criminal justice where criminal are actively looking to kill them with much more stringent rules, than highly trained civilian cops where criminals are looking to run away from them?

    Hockey Bum in reply to Indigo Red. | October 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I believe the police version is that they told Andy Lopez two times and that as Lopez turned toward them an officer feared he was going to shoot.

    While, contrary to assertions made in comments, Federal law does not require an orange tip on airsoft guns (assuming that’s what it was), California does require they be shipped and sold with one. There doesn’t, however, appear to be a prohibition on removing it, and regular BB guns are not required to have an orange tip.

    Still it’s a tragedy and cop shootings of innocent people seem to happen far too often these days.

      tom swift in reply to Hockey Bum. | October 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      I have a goodly pile of AirSoft, BB and pellet guns. The AirSoft ones are invariably shipped to me with an orange plastic tube over the muzzle, or orange paint slobbered over the business end of the barrel. The BB and pellet guns do not have any such thing. Many look very much like the real thing (which is why I buy them – I collect toy guns which look like some of my real guns). These are all entirely legal. If I am spotted carrying one, that’s not a crime, and it doesn’t justify excitement, let alone shooting by trigger-happy gendarmes.

      Now of course there are only a few circumstances in which a minor can legally carry a rifle. But violation still can’t justify shooting.

    tom swift in reply to Indigo Red. | October 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Airsoft guns are indeed toys. Unless you think that they’re real guns.

Richard Aubrey | October 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm

It would appear that, in that area, the idea of a thirteen-year-old carrying the real thing would not be brushed off as impossible. No “had to be a toy, couldn’t be anything else” on that block.
Really too bad.

    tom swift in reply to Richard Aubrey. | October 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Although there may be some risk involved for the police while they determine if they’re dealing with a real firearm or not, that’s part of the job.

    The function of the police is the protection of the PUBLIC, not the protection of the police.

      toddlouisgreen in reply to tom swift. | October 24, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      That’s ludicrous. The police aren’t paid to let people shoot at them.

      Just because this is a tragedy doesn’t mean the officers made mistakes.

      A teenager was seen carrying a weapon in a place where teenagers regularly carry such firearms in furtherance of illegal gang activity. Officers instructed the suspect to drop the gun and instead the suspect turned on them and leveled the gun at them.

      That’s the story not just from the officers but witnesses as well. The only contradictory witness says the airsoft gun was slung over the suspect’s shoulder, but the gun didn’t even have a sling.

      Too many of the commenters in this thread seem to have learned everything they know about guns from watching Star Wars, where the good guys never get hit. Police don’t need to give armed suspects the chance to fire the first shot because that first shot can kill someone instantly.

      All of the “I had guns when I was a kid” stories are equally off point. When you were walking along the road with your BB gun, what would you have done if a police officer told you to drop the gun? I bet you wouldn’t have pointed it at him instead. Know why? Because you were taught to handle guns responsible AND you were taught to comply with lawful police instructions. And do you know what would have happened in 1950’s America if a kid DID point a gun at police after being told to drop it? He’d have been shot, too.

        The Pres Democrat link has this quote from a witness, “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 Brian Zastrow, a resident on Horizon Way. “After that I heard multiple sirens.”

        I’m not absolutely clear here, but it sounds as though the initial police contact was with lights and siren. If it was, then most likely the result of citizen’s phone calls and not just cops wandering around to find someone to shoot.

        Phillep Harding in reply to toddlouisgreen. | October 25, 2013 at 9:31 am

        If I heard someone yelling his head off behind me as a kid, I’d turn around to see what was going on.

        Today? That’s an “aggressive movement” justifying “open fire”.

This is just sad. At age 13, there is a wide variation in sophistication among children (such as how to properly carry a firearm, or what should be your response to a police order). Without more facts, it’s hard to know what to think. However, given that I’ve seen police officers shoot perfectly harmless dogs who were wagging their tails, given that too many cops are clueless about children, given that it reportedly wasn’t the child’s toy, and given that this wasn’t a police shooting in connection with a reported robbery or burglary, I’m… don’t know what to think.

I would be very interested in reading Andrew Branca’s take on this. I hope he does an article as I feel this would open the eyes of many of the commentators on this one.

Did the Cop[s actually yell at him to drop the gun?
Did both of them yell at once making what they said unintelligible?
Did they even give him time to comply? In several vids of SWAT raids we see that time from first bang on door to B&E to be 10 seconds.
If there’s vid of this I want to see it.

Phillep Harding | October 25, 2013 at 9:47 am

One of these days, some cop is going to scream “FREEZE! POLICE!” behind a judge or politician who is going to just naturally turn to see “What the Heck?”, and get killed.

I’m going to laugh myself sick when that chicken comes home to roost. It’s judges and politicians who have allowed dozens, hundreds? of people to be killed that way.

Yep 10 seconds.
Records detail timeline on shooting of 13-year-old who authorities say carried replica rifle

[quote] Records show it took just 10 seconds for a 24-year veteran of a California’s sheriff department to decide to open fire and kill an 8th grade boy carrying a harmless but spot-on replica of an AK-47 assault rifle.[/quote]