With anticipation building that a decision is near, District Attorney Jill Ravitch on Friday said her office is still actively reviewing the shooting of Andy Lopez to determine if the sheriff's deputy who fired the fatal shots should face criminal charges.
Ravitch said her office remains "fully immersed" in a review of a Santa Rosa police report on the fatal shooting by Deputy Erick Gelhaus.
"We are striving to ensure that we have analyzed this case, all the evidence, and possible interpretations in the most systematic and exhaustive way. We will take the time it requires, no more and no less," Ravitch said in a statement.
Ravitch issued an update Friday to address "public speculation" about the timing of her decision. Activists behind a series of street protests following the death of the 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy last October had braced for Ravitch to deliver her ruling this week.
Ravitch, who received the police report on the shooting in late January, did not say when a finding would be made. She said her staff consulted Thursday with an expert, who left with "additional information leading to further analysis and reporting to complete. And this is just one facet of the ongoing work we are doing."
Lopez was killed Oct. 22 as he walked along Moorland Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa with an airsoft BB gun resembling an AK-47 rifle. Gelhaus told police he thought Lopez was carrying a real assault rifle when he ordered the boy to drop the gun and then opened fire, shooting Lopez seven times.
The boy's family accused the deputy of acting recklessly. They have sued the county and Gelhaus in federal court, seeking unspecified damages.
Activists are calling for criminal charges. They announced plans this week to stage three protests in a single week if Ravitch declines to press criminal charges against Gelhaus.
Many have speculated Ravitch may postpone a ruling until after the June 3 election. She faces a challenge from Deputy District Attorney Victoria Shanahan, who has been critical of Ravitch's handling of the case.
The district attorney said she is not obligated to announce a decision by a certain time.
Her role is to determine whether violations of criminal law occurred and either prosecute the person or provide a recommendation and information to the Sonoma County Grand Jury, she said in the statement.
"I will release my decision and its basis to the public once we have completed this process. I continue to ask for your patience," Ravitch said in a statement.