SONOMA, Calif. - CBS SF- The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning announced a $3 million settlement of a federal excessive force civil lawsuit filed by the family of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, who was fatally shot by a county sheriff’s deputy in 2013.
The board unanimously approved the settlement in a closed-door session. County Counsel Bruce Goldstein said the county did not admit
liability or fault in Lopez’s death on Oct. 22, 2013.
Lopez, 13, was shot seven times by Deputy Erick Gelhaus, now a sergeant, as he walked along Moorland Avenue south of Santa Rosa with a pellet gun that was designed to look like an AK-47 assault rifle. Gelhaus said he believed the rifle was real and the barrel raised upward as Lopez turned toward him.
Goldstein said the plaintiffs and defendants in the suit evaluated the risk of going to trial and agreed the settlement was best for the Lopez family, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the county.
Goldstein said the settlement is important to continue the healing process for the community, the Lopez family and the county.
The trial was expected to start this summer in San Francisco.