This is a photo of the airsoft rifle that 13 year-old Andy Lopez had in his hands when shot to death by Sonoma County deputies.
This is a photo of that same model of the same $46.99 airsoft rifle, pulled from the website of an online retailer.
I’ll readily concede that the rifle bears a strong resemblance to a real weapon, but I would like to know if there is a better picture of the front end of the rifle that the Sonoma Sheriff’s Department would like to release to the media.
You see, in the photo they’ve transmitted to the media, there does not appear to be a barrel in front of the gas port, no front sight post, and no cleaning rod. To me, it seems that they should have been able to realize that this is a broken toy.
Perhaps if the Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies took more time to process the situation, instead firing within a few seconds of coming in contact with him, then Andy Lopez would be alive today.
At the same time, I’d caution parents not to buy their children airsoft rifles that are the same size shape, and colors as real firearms, for obvious reasons.
Law enforcement and the courts today seem ever more lenient on the side of officer-involved shootings, and my law enforcement trainer friends confirm that there is a “do whatever you have to do to come home at the end of your shift” mentality that puts the public’s safety second.