A 13 year old boy carrying a toy gun has been shot dead by police in California.
Andy Lopez Cruz was walking along a field on his way to a friend’s house in Santa Rosa in the north of the state when two officers saw him carrying a gun which they believed to be real.
According to a police statement, they called out to him to drop it, then fired several rounds from their handguns, killing him on the spot.
One witness, Ismail Mondragon, said he didn’t hear any warning from police: “He (the police officer) pulled over to the kid who was just walking and opened the door and shot him, three shots.”
Officers handcuffed the teenager before giving him first aid. However he was pronounced dead at the scene. Neither of the officers was injured.
At a news conference, officers demonstrated the similarities between the toy and real AK-47 guns. It wasn’t clear if the gun carried by the teenager was capable of shooting BBs or other projectiles
There are dozens of recreational guns on the market in the US designed to look like real assault rifles but which fire plastic, non-lethal projectiles.
The shooting comes a day after a a 12-year-old boy in Nevada shot dead a teacher before subsequently taking his own life.
There is growing concern about police-involved shootings in California, with renewed calls for a civilian review board to look into them.
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.