Well, this is interesting.
Turns out the Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy that shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez Cruz last Tuesday after mistaking his toy AK-47 for a real firearm is actually a gun expert.
Erick Gelhaus, 48, was also identified as a firearms instructor, a hunter and a war veteran who, according to the SF Gate, previously warned other officers that they may need to use lethal force to survive encounters.
Gelhaus is a frequent contributor to law enforcement magazines and online forums in which he promotes officer safety. He served as an infantry squad leader in Iraq, according to his online profiles, and he describes himself as an avid hunter in North America as well as Africa.
Another interesting fact about Gelhaus? He has only shot one other person in the 24 years he has been with the agency — himself.
He once accidentally shot himself in the leg in 1995 while on duty with the Sheriff’s Office – reportedly while holstering a gun. However, officials said he has not fired upon a suspect in 24 years with the agency, where he serves as a field training officer for new recruits and trains colleagues to shoot at the department’s gun range.
He remains on paid administrative leave pending investigations by Santa Rosa and Petaluma police and the Sonoma County district attorney’s office.
For a detailed report on Gelhaus, click here.
SOURCE: SFGate | PHOTO CREDIT: Handout