After walking quietly beside her husband in a nearly hourlong march Wednesday night to commemorate the death of her son, Andy, Sujey Lopez suddenly broke into tears upon arriving at the place where he was shot.
“How can the community not respond?” said one woman in a soft voice as more than 50 marchers gathered with candles around Lopez while her husband, Rodrigo Lopez, held her.
The crowd included mothers and their children, teens who knew Andy, community activists and others. Carrying candles and signs, they walked from the Department of Motor Vehicles office on Corby Avenue to the corner of Moorland and West Robles avenues, where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed on Oct. 22 by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus.
Lopez was walking along Moorland Avenue carrying an airsoft BB gun designed to look like an AK-47 assault rifle, and Gelhaus reportedly mistook it for a real weapon. While Lopez’s death has galvanized numerous, sometimes heated protests, the march Wednesday night was somber and peaceful.
“It’s just another way for us to come together, show the family that we support them, that we’re still here for them,” said Nicole Guerra, who helped organize the event.
Still, many marchers expressed hope that change, such as the creation of community-oriented policing, would come from Lopez’s death.
“Because of the degree of injustice I feel has occurred to Andy, this is too important to ignore,” said Carlos Contreras of Rohnert Park.
You can reach Staff Writer Jamie Hansen at 521-5205 or email@example.com. On Twitter at @JamieHansen.