Talks begin for creation of park in honor of Andy Lopez

The owner of the empty lot where 13-year-old Andy Lopez died more than six weeks ago is in talks with people who want to turn it into a memorial park for the slain boy.

The property is owned by real estate agent David Poulsen, who has refused to be interviewed on the topic. However he has designated Herb Williams, a political consultant, as his spokesman. Williams said the talks regarding the property at 3399 Moorland Ave. are preliminary and no formal proposals are being considered.

But he said Poulsen, who for weeks has not returned repeated phone calls seeking interviews, is "very willing to do something."

"He is open to several different options and we're not going to discuss them until some sort of agreement has been reached," Williams said, adding that he would not discuss who Poulsen is talking to about the property.

Reportedly, the discussions have been with private citizens and government officials.

Williams would say only that one of the options being discussed is an "out-and-out sale of the property." He said Poulsen is willing to sell 1 acre of the 4.2 acres that he owns at the location. The property is made up of two lots, a 1-acre lot and a 3.2-acre lot.<NO1><NO>

Lopez died on the east edge of 1-acre lot after being shot seven times by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus.

The 24-year veteran told criminal investigators that he mistook the airsoft BB gun the boy was carrying for an AK-47 assault rifle and that he feared for his life. Critics contend that Gelhaus reacted recklessly and didn't give the boy enough time to figure out what was happening before Gelhaus fired his weapon.

Lopez's death has sparked numerous protest rallies and marches in Santa Rosa with demonstrators making a number of demands, from the prosecution of Gelhaus to the formation of a civilian review board to the creation of a park in the vacant field where the boy died.

Activists welcomed Poulsen's willingness to see the site turned into a park.

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