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California to pay $3M over death of teen holding pellet gun

December 19, 2018
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FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2013 file photo, protesters hold images of shooting victim Andy Lopez during a march in Santa Rosa, Calif. Sonoma County will pay $3 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a California teenager who was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy while holding a pellet gun. The Press Democrat reports the settlement was approved unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, by the county Board of Supervisors, bringing to a close a lawsuit filed in Nov. 2013 by the family of 13-year-old Lopez. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Sonoma County will pay $3 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a California teenager who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy while holding a pellet gun.

The Press Democrat reports the settlement was approved unanimously Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, bringing to a close a lawsuit filed in November 2013 by the family of 13-year-old Andy Lopez.

Lopez was fatally shot by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus, who saw Lopez carrying what appeared to be an AK-47 but was actually a plastic pellet gun made to look like an assault rifle.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano offered condolences to the Lopez family. He noted that Gelhaus was cleared of criminal wrongdoing but officials agreed the settlement was the best solution.

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