In a split second police officers have to make a decision on whether their life is in danger. And if you're playing with toy guns, it could be interpreted as a threat.
A California teenager was gunned down by a deputy Tuesday afternoon. According to police reports, the teen was caring a gun, and was asked to put the gun down two times. The deputy says the young man did not drop the gun, but instead turned toward the officer.
“It's extremely tragic. You have a 13-year-old boy dead, you have a police officer that has to live with the fact that he took a life, so there is no winner here, there's absolutely no winner”, say Captain Kip Judice of the Lafayette Sheriff's Office.
Unable to identify the gun as a toy, the officer followed procedure, as it is taught in training. Judice says law-enforcement officers throughout the country are told, if you perceive it a threat you have to react to that. Heather Osborne, mother of seven, told us she set strict rules for her kids to follow when playing with toy guns because of how much times have changed.
“We grew up in that cowboys and Indians era, and all boys played with guns. Now, it's become such an issue in school, that is so dangerous it scares me”, said Heather.
Police remind civilians that if you are challenged in any way, shape or form, the key is to drop the device or drop whatever it is that someone is perceiving as a threat. Because there are no laws in place stating that toy guns must show any type of distinct difference form the real deal, officers can only suggest that you exercise extreme caution when one is in your possession.