Potluck marks anniversary of Andy Lopez's death

  • Susan Chunco, second from the left, shares her homemade cookies during a potluck for activists and families at the memorial site where Andy Lopez was shot and killed on the corner of West Robles and Moorland Avenues in Santa Rosa on Sunday, December 22, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Standing just yards from the spot where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was killed, Jeremiah Wood on Sunday raised a soapy plastic tube to his lips and blew a long string of bubbles.

"I'm making mine like a choo-choo train," said Wood, 5, a kindergartner at Binkley Elementary School in Rincon Valley. "This is a cool bubble machine."

The youngster was among about 100 people attending an outdoor potluck marking the two-month anniversary of Lopez's death.

They gathered in the field adjacent to the Moorland Avenue sidewalk where Lopez was walking when he was fatally shot Oct. 22 by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus.

Gelhaus told police he mistook a BB gun Lopez was carrying for an AK-47 assault rifle and fired he saw Lopez — his back to the deputy — begin to turn toward him, the barrel of the BB gun rising.

Critics have questioned the deputy's reaction, saying he acted hastily in his use of deadly force.

In numerous protest marches and demonstrations, they have called on District Attorney Jill Ravitch to bring criminal charges against Gelhaus at the completion of a police investigation.

Meanwhile, a shrine of pictures, candles and other memorabilia has grown in the field near where Lopez fell. Efforts are ongoing to buy the land to make a public park.

Protesters on Sunday took a break from the frequent rallies and meetings to share a meal together and get to know each other.

They laid out platters of sandwiches, pastries and traditional Mexican foods such as posole on tables under a large awning.

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