Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gun Replicas Can Seem Real to Police

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gun Replicas Can Seem Real to Police

Article excerpt

BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- In the hallway of a Brownsville middle school on Wednesday morning, administrators tried to calm an agitated student who had randomly assaulted another student in a classroom. But then the adults noticed it: The student, a 15-year- old eighth-grader named Jaime Gonzalez Jr., had a gun tucked into the waistband of his pants.

The administrators at Cummings Middle School asked Jaime if that was a gun, and he replied that it was, school district officials said. It was not quite the truth: The teenager was armed with a high- powered BB gun that resembled a black Glock semi-automatic handgun and that can be purchased on the Internet for about $60. But the situation escalated, as school officials announced a lockdown over the intercom and called 911, and teachers locked their classrooms, shut off the lights and moved their students away from the doors.

Police officers who responded confronted Jaime in the main hallway next to the principal's office. Police officials said the officers repeatedly ordered the boy to drop the weapon, and they can be heard shouting "Put it down!" and "Put it on the floor!" several times in the recording of the 911 call released by the police. Jaime refused to comply and pointed the weapon at the officers, police officials said. Two officers fired their weapons, striking the teenager, who was transported to a hospital with two gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen. He was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m.

The death has shocked this southern Texas border city, but it was only the latest in a series of shootings involving realistic- looking BB guns and pellet guns. In recent years, dozens of police officers in Texas, California, Maryland, Florida and elsewhere have shot children and adults armed with what they believed were handguns but that were determined later to be BB guns or other types of air pistols. In addition, the gun replicas have killed or injured thousands of children around the country in cases in which the victims were accidentally shot by relatives or friends. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.