Californian police officers fatally shot a teen boy Tuesday afternoon because was armed with what looked like an assault rifle — but it was a toy gun.
Andy Lopez, 13, was struck with several rounds from the sheriff's deputies' handguns and fell onto the replica in southwest Santa Rosa, authorities said.
He was declared dead at the scene.
"Why did they kill him? Why?" the teen's tearful mother, Sujey Annel Cruz Cazarez, said to The Press Democrat after returning from identifying the body.
"I told him what I tell him every day," his father, Rodrigo Lopez, said. "Behave yourself."
The toy gun resembled an AK-47. Plastic replicas of the gun can be purchased for just $34.99, while metal and wood replicas can go for more than $200, the California newspaper said.
Sheriff's officials said it was unclear whether the replica could fire BBs or some other projectile.
The two deputies who opened fire called for backup when they first spotted Lopez walking around with his friend's toy weapon. Then they repeatedly ordered Lopez to drop the gun, and he failed to comply, according to authorities.
After killing Lopez, the deputies handcuffed the boy, found a plastic gun in his waistband and cordoned off the scene for hours.
Both officers, neither of whom was identified, are on administrative leave, said Sheriff's Lt. Steve Brown.