Cops Kill 13-Year-Old After Mistaking His Toy Gun for the Real Thing

Heartbreaking 23

toy rifleWe have yet another horrifying incident of a child losing his life because of guns this week. A boy from California, who has been identified by his father as 13-year-old Andy Lopez, was shot dead by police officers who mistook a realistic-looking pellet rifle he was holding for the real thing. The child was on his way to a friend's house, according to his dad, and took the pellet gun with him before he left -- it's not clear what he was planning on doing with it.

I want to chastise police for not acting in a more responsible manner. Andy was just a kid who may have left his house carrying this fake gun because he was excited to play cops and robbers. But given the events that are taking place this week in schools, I can't be angry with them. And that's saying a whole lot of (bad stuff) about the situation in our country. 

According to police reports, two deputies repeatedly ordered the teen to drop his weapon. He wouldn't. Then they shot several rounds at him with their handguns and the child fell on top of his rifle. I'm not in law enforcement, so please feel free to correct me on this, but the only thing I could see that the cops possibly did wrong in this situation was not try to wound the boy in the leg or arm first so that he would drop the gun. Given the fact that he wasn't endangering the lives of anyone else, it was probably unnecessary to shoot him dead.

With that said, how are we supposed to know how threatened the cops felt in that moment? Clearly, his young age doesn't mean anything anymore, given the fact that a 14-year-old was charged with murdering his math teacher in Massachusetts and a 12-year-old student in Nevada shot his teacher and wounded two peers this week. I don't blame police for being on high alert these days and for feeling a certain amount of paranoia when it comes to the issue of children and guns. 

If we refuse to make gun control a priority in this country, can we at the very least ban realistic-looking replica guns? Is there any reason on earth a child needs to have one of these in hand? Give him a plastic water gun and tell him to go to town. Play cops and robbers all you want. But as parents we need to understand that our gun culture is so out of control that letting our children have access to a replica gun is just a bad idea, no matter how responsible we are as parents. I feel terrible for this child's family, but I also feel bad for the cops who have to live with the fact that they accidentally killed a child.

Do you think the cops could have handled this situation differently?


Image via Ocean/Corbis

accidents, crime, death, guns, in the news, law


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nonmember avatar Chris

The problem is some people are not teaching their children to respect authority. I don't mean just tell your kids, but also lead by example. This kid would be alive today if he would've put his weapon down as he was told. Kids turn up to be killers quite a bit so the cops did what they had to. It's a shame a life was lost to plain stupidity. Now wait for his stupid parents wanting to sue the PD.

nonmember avatar supermom

A witness said he didn't hear police ask the boy to drop his weapon they just started shooting, this was in a bad neighborhood so possibly the police thought the worst who knows it's sad for this boys family who have to morn their son and for the police family who have to live with the reputation

Daisy... DaisyJupes

You either shoot to kill or don't pull your gun. There are no warning shots or shots to injure, because those give the person time to hurt you. What went wrong is that the kid didn't put the gun down when repeatedly ordered. By refusing to obey police orders when he is carrying a REAL gun (all guns are treated as real until proven otherwise), he was a threat to not only them but whoever he may have been targeting.

BirdCo BirdCo

Cops are trained to hit center mass. No matter how easy it seems to shoot a gun out of a subjects hand in tv and movies. And aiming for a smaller target like a hand increases the risk of missing.

Movie... Moviebuff

Nope I don't think the cops were wrong. The boy didn't listen to directions and with everything going on this week they had to assume he was dangerous. To the people who are going to say he was scared and didn't know what to do he is old enough to listen to the cops.

nonmember avatar Lisa

This was in the west coast. We know exactly he trigger happy those so are. How do we know the cops asked him to put down his weapon? Oh that's right, we don't.

Movie... Moviebuff

It's not to far away from where I live in northern CA it's pretty mellow compared to the rest of the state.

nonmember avatar April

According to an article I read last night, not only did he NOT put the gun down when he was told to (twice, at least) He began to swing it up in the officer's direction. I find it sad that a life was cut short, but what in the hell was that kid thinking?

Movie... Moviebuff

He also had another fake one in his pocket.

nonmember avatar Kimber

If a gun is pointed at an officer, they don't have time to say "drop the weapon"...they could be shot in a split second. Those officers did EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TRAINED TO DO.

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