Mourners wearing white honor Andy Lopez at visitation service

  • Esmeralda Mendoza, 14, wears a beanie with honoring her classmate Andy Lopez during a funeral service and viewing for Lopez at the Windsor-Healdsburg Mortuary on Sunday afternoon, October 27, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Sunday's scene was one of overwhelming sorrow cloaked in white. Hundreds of mourners had worn that color at the request of Sujey Lopez to, she said, "represent the angel that he is and was."

Lopez was born in Sonoma County; his parents came to the area about 20 years ago from the northern Mexican state of Sonora.

Described as a handsome fun-loving boy, Lopez grew up in the Moorland Avenue neighborhood in southwest Santa Rosa, attending Bellevue Elementary School and Cook Middle School, where he played trumpet in the band until transferring last week to Lewis Opportunity School.

Only about 150 people at a time could fit in the room at the Windsor-Healdsburg Mortuary on Old Redwood Highway where the service was being held. A long line of people, many carrying white carnations, many of them young and wearing T-shirts bearing Andy Lopez's photograph, waited to pay their respects.

They filed through the hall throughout the day, placing flowers on the casket. Parents held toddlers close. Teens in white shirts with Lopez' photo walked arm-in-arm.

The casket was surrounded by flowers and enlarged photos of Andy Lopez. In one photo Lopez wore his characteristic beanie hat and in another he saluted the sky. In a third, Lopez beamed from the back seat of a car, wearing a pink vest and tie.

At one point, Rodrigo Lopez appeared to try to pull his 13-year-old son's body from the casket and a crowd of family and friends rapidly drew in to enclose and comfort him.

As Sujay Lopez leaned over her son, family friend Maribel Barragan, 34, of Santa Rosa rubbed Sujay Lopez' back and fanned her face. A conch shell sounded and Aztec drums pounded, reverberating through the room.

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, in a white shirt, bowed his head as Aztec dancers fanned incense on Lopez' parents, huddled around the casket.

"This has been tragic and devastating, words cannot describe ..." Carrillo said after the service. "There is no pain greater than that of a parent losing a child, and I say this not having the experience of being a parent."

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