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A federal judge has ruled the family of a teenager who was holding a toy rifle when he was fatally shot by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy in 2013 can sue authorities

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SANTA ROSA, California — A federal judge has ruled the family of a teenager who was holding a toy rifle when he was fatally shot by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy in 2013 can sue authorities.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://sfg.ly/1Ud7DOc ) a federal judge on Wednesday ruled Andy Lopez's family can sue the deputy and the county for wrongful death.

Lawyers for the county and sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus argued that the suit should be dismissed because the deputy believed the toy was an assault rifle and reasonably feared for his life.

But U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton of Oakland said there was no evidence that the 13-year-old was pointing the gun at the officer, made any "sudden movement" toward the weapon or was acting aggressively before he was shot.

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