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Late Friday, the FBI announced that it is launching a civil rights investigation into Tuesday's shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies.

FBI officials notified command staff for Sheriff Steve Freitas and Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm of the move Friday.

The federal inquiry is separate from the investigation led by Santa Rosa police into the deputy-involved shooting.

A spokesman in the FBI's San Francisco office called the agency's inquiry a “shooting review,” looking into the “incident itself (and) the deputies' response.”

“We're going to look into the facts of that,” said Peter Lee, a public affairs specialist with the bureau. “It's a civil rights-type of case.”

Both Schwedhelm and Freitas said they welcomed the additional inquiry. Both said they did not know exactly what the agency would be examining.

“I'm sure in the coming weeks they'll be in contact with us for information and we'll cooperate fully with them,” Schwedhelm said.

For those who don't know, Andy was walking along a street in Santa Rosa when two deputies pulled up.  One of them mistook the BB gun he was carrying for an AK-47 and fired eight rounds at Andy.  Seven of them found their mark, and two of them were fatal.  

Santa Rosa police were already investigating the shooting under long-standing rules that call for a separate agency to investigate "critical incidents" like this one.  There's no word yet on why the FBI is already involved, but a timeline released by the Santa Rosa police department provides one clue.  Apparently within only 10 seconds of telling Andy to drop the gun, one of the deputies opened fire.  The deputy said that he thought he saw the barrel of the gun raising up in his direction, and thought he was about to get raked.  The deputy who fired the fatal shots is a 24-year veteran--one would think he'd know the difference between a fake gun and a real one.

How serious is this?  The deputies could potentially be staring down the barrel of federal charges.

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Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 03:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos.

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