Fire at Calif. teen's memorial ruled accidental

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Updated: 1/03/2014 12:59 pm

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a makeshift memorial for a Northern California boy shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy burned by a fire was accidental.

The Central Fire Authority in Sonoma County say a burning candle likely ignited the 10-foot-long wooden altar at a vacant lot in Santa Rosa to remember Andy Lopez early Thursday.

Fire Chief Doug Williams said the blaze was small as there had been some speculation that someone had purposely started the fire.

Volunteers plan to spend this weekend rebuilding the memorial.

The site is located where the 13-year-old Lopez was fatally shot on October 22 while playing with a toy rifle that police say Sonoma County sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus mistook as an AK-47 assault rifle.

The shooting prompted community outrage and several demonstrations.

The teen's family has since filed a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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