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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

No Criminal Charges in Officer Involved Shooting

En Español

Santa Rosa, CA  –  July 7, 2014  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that no criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Erik Gelhaus related to the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa on October 22, 2013.  A 52-page synopsis of the District Attorney Report to the Grand Jury outlining the investigation and reasons for the determination was released today. The report concludes that Deputy Gelhaus fired his weapon in response to what he honestly and reasonably believed was an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself or others. As such, he was lawfully acting in defense of himself or others, and no basis for seeking criminal charges exists.

District Attorney Ravitch noted that any finding by her office will not alleviate the pain felt by the Lopez family, those involved in the tragedy, or the community. “It is incumbent upon us to move forward to address the many layers of concern uncovered by this tragedy, and work together to rebuild trust and support for all members of this community.”

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “We conducted an exhaustive and thorough investigation and review, retained numerous expert witnesses, and considered every interpretation of the facts and evidence in our analysis. Consistent with the transparency I promised, I am releasing to the public today a synopsis of our Grand Jury report with redactions to ensure individual privacy. This is the first time a report as detailed as this has been made public in Sonoma County. Ultimately, the role of my office in this tragedy is quite limited – to a determination regarding criminal liability. Police tactics, training, and civil liability are not matters to be addressed by our office or this report. The many areas of concern and positive change that have been discussed in the aftermath of this tragedy will now take center stage in the public dialogue. Meanwhile, I intend to make myself available to answer questions the public may have about the scope of our investigation and the basis for my decision not to file criminal charges.

The complete District Attorney report and all exhibits will be forwarded to the Sonoma County Grand Jury. The Santa Rosa Police Department will forward all the investigative reports to the Grand Jury as well. The report released today will be posted on the District Attorney website as well: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/documents/da/2014/andy-lopez-information.pdf(PDF: 13.4 MB).

Before releasing these findings, the District Attorney again contacted California Attorney General Kamala Harris to determine whether her office would undertake a review of the investigation as well as the District Attorney report. The Attorney General’s Office declined to do so, on the basis that no conflict or other cause exists to require an independent review. If any aggrieved party wishes to seek the Attorney General’s review, this office will cooperate fully in any examination they may undertake.

The District Attorney has also been in contact with the Department of Justice representatives at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office with regard to a civil rights investigation. A copy of this report will be forwarded to those representatives for consideration with other reports they have received and reviewed in connection with this investigation.

The Santa Rosa Police Department conducted an extensive investigation into the tragic shooting of Andy Lopez pursuant to the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association protocol, calling for an independent review of any law enforcement involved fatality. The Petaluma Police Department provided assistance, and the District Attorney assigned a management attorney and an investigator, both with significant homicide experience, to conduct a deliberate and thorough review, ensure any necessary additional investigation occurred, and prepare this extensive report documenting our findings. The reports numbered over 1000 pages and independent experts were retained to analyze and review evidence collected.

En Español

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Contact Information

Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
600 Administration Drive
Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273
 

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