A 13-year-old boy carrying a replica assault weapon died Tuesday when Sonoma County sheriff's officials mistook it for a real gun and fired.
The boy was spotted by two deputies walking in a Santa Rosa, Calif., neighborhood around 3 p.m. local time. Police ordered him to drop the rifle numerous times before shooting their handguns, Lt. Dennis O'Leary said in a news release, according to The Press Democrat
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The boy, who was hit several times according to O'Leary, was pronounced dead at the scene. O'Leary said deputies also found a plastic handgun in his waistband, the paper reported.
The boy's father, Rodrigo Lopez, told the Press Democrat that his son was the victim, and had been carrying a friend's toy gun.
"Why did they kill him? Why?" the boy's mother, Sujey Annel Cruz Cazarez, cried, while Lopez told the paper he gave his son his usual morning message when he left for work: "Behave yourself."
The deputies have both been placed on administrative leave.
Tuesday's death was the third fatal police shooting in Sonoma County in 2013. In February, Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies killed kidnapping suspect Richard Shreckengaust, 37, after a motor vehicle pursuit, television station KTVU.com reported
In June, 48-year-old Urbano Moreno Morales died shortly after he allegedly stabbed his son's mother and charged police with a knife, according to the San Jose Mercury News
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