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Kids and Airsoft, not a good idea

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  • Kids and Airsoft, not a good idea

    Off duty last Saturday night, sitting at the local taco shop drive through pickup window, with my 64 year old mom in the passenger seat. My truck is pointing west. Parking lot has interstate to north, 2-lane highway to west, field to east, and another business to the south. Gas pumps run along the west side of the parking lot along the highway.

    Small 4-door pickup briskly pulls in from highway, parks to my left facing north (away from me) about 10-15 yards away. 2 males and 2 females jump out, all teens to young adults from my vantage. 1 female (driver side rear passenger) briskly crosses parking lot and enters taco joint, other (driver) stands by pickup on drivers side texting on phone. 1 male (front passenger) jogs east and seems to stop under street light by garbage dumpster.

    Rear passenger hops out (6-1 or so, but only about 160), looks around, and reaches back into rear seat. Pulls out q shot gun, racks a round, and points it towards at least 3 different targets (tracking one female as she walks across parking lot) and my truck. Doesn't fire.

    I tell mom "stay down" and slide out drivers door to rear, drawing my weapon. I've got concealment and cover, and from drivers rear corner of my truck I see the guy point the gun at the ground and turn with his back to me. As I move from my truck, but still in shadow, he opens the door and puts the gun down on the back seat of the truck and closes the door. I hit him hard and fast, ID'ing myself as I'm closing the gap. As I get closer I realize he's a 14-15 year old kid, just tall and skinny. He's spun around and against the truck harder than I think he expected to be. Driver also puts hand on truck and I pin the kid while he's wailing, sobbing, and filling his shorts. In between "I'm sooo sorry", and "I didn't mean it", know what's he's screaming? "It's an Airsoft!". Sure enough, I pop the door open and with the help of the dome light I see a little red ring on the end of the barrel of what appears to be a pump 12-gauge. No way to see the ring at night, in dark parking lot, more than 3 feet away.

    After a quick education in the ballistic wound properties of a .357 hollow-point fired from 10-15 yards into a human chest cavity, and a dissertation that may have involved the work F**K more times that I could count, I turn him loose. Yeah I could have called the SO and got a marked unit over there, but he seemed to grasp the immense depth of his stupidity pretty clearly. He lives in my neighborhood so I might still track down his parents for a little chat about how Jr. was within seconds of dying. Other people's children...

    We can all Monday Morning Quarterback this one to death, but that's not why I posted. I've played it over and over in my mind since then, but if he would have turned and brought his gun up, I don't see where I would have any choice. Odd thing was I was this "_" close to not having a weapon on me. 9:30pm and mom had just got in from a cross country drive so we had ran to pick up some chow less than 1 mile from the house. Yeah, it was a stupid 15 year old with a toy. This time. Could have just as easily been real, or I could have killed a kid. Just something to think about...
    Opinions expressed in my posts are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any employer, past, present, or future.

  • #2
    Glad you didn't get hurt. Can't say I would have handled it any better or any worse.

    Not trying to Monday Morning Quarterback you, but had this happened to me, I would have contacted the local PD. These kids are old enough to know what they did.

    What if a citizen had called it in, and what if in the process of responding, an Officer or civilian was seriously injured or killed? Or what if a citizen with concealed carry had felt threatened by their actions and popped a few rounds into them? They are old enough to be held responsible for their actions. Just my .02 cents. Stay safe.
    Last edited by Street_Cop50; 05-25-2011, 06:00 PM.
    Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp.

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    • #3
      Yeah I should have mentioned that. No "local PD", we have the Sheriff's Office only, 4-6 deputies on patrol, around 800 square mile county. Due to time and distance, it was over before it began...

      Valid points though.
      Opinions expressed in my posts are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any employer, past, present, or future.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sprocket View Post
        Yeah I should have mentioned that. No "local PD", we have the Sheriff's Office only, 4-6 deputies on patrol, around 800 square mile county. Due to time and distance, it was over before it began...

        Valid points though.
        I don't want to second guess your decisions either, but if you went hands-on with that little dork, you really should have had a squad come. If for no other reason as a CYA. Because when little Johnny goes home he's going to tell mommy and daddy how he was jacked up by the big bully off duty officer FOR NO REASON and you will be called on the carpet. And what do you think the first question the Chief or sheriff is going to ask....... Why didn't you call for a squad. (don't ask how I know this) Its worth waiting for the available squad or supervisor

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        • #5
          We have had issues with these airsoft rifles and handguns as well. An on duty story, got a call to an apt. complex of two people in masks running around with assault rifles at about 2200. Show up all secret squirrel like and sure enough find one of the guys with one. Had stuff covering his face and all. Turns out it was a teenage kid. I like to think he had to change his shorts due to looking down the barrel of more than one 870. Turns out he and dad were running around playing an airsoft game. They had painted the orange parts black, so they were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Something needs to change with these things. If someone hasn't been killed by a LEO yet for having one pointed at him, it is bound to happen.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AI_guy View Post
            Why didn't you call for a squad. (don't ask how I know this) Its worth waiting for the available squad or supervisor
            It happened in the county I live in, not work in, but they're both rural. The deputies here are overworked enough. If it would have been a "real" incident, I would have called the SO and got a unit out there but it would have been after I dealt with the 10-32. Guy swinging a shotgun around 10-15 yards from you doesn't give ya a time out to call for help. My choice was drive away and phone it in, possibly after the loon with a shotty takes out some folks, or get the drop on him and play through. Easy choice in my book...

            Frankly, being off duty I had more freedom to speak "strongly" than an on duty deputy would have. I've got no worries my Chief would back my play and trust my call. If I did, I'd find somewhere else to hang my hat.

            My point in posting was the hope A. Somebody learns from my experience and B. We all remain aware that "guns" aren't always lethal...
            Opinions expressed in my posts are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any employer, past, present, or future.

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            • #7
              Long time ago I responded to a job "person asleep on footpath" (sidewalk for you guys)...now this was a residential neighbourhood with no real homeless problem, midweek so not expecting a fri/sat night drunk etc..

              Pull up, see the guy asleep under a bush on the footpath and approach him, now this is suburban Australia of 20 years ago...no guns drawn, no expectation of any real concern...

              Tap the guy with toe of boot "Oi wake up!"

              He rolls over with a black revover in his hand.... [email protected]#%!!!!!!!!!

              Combination of swinging a kick at his hand, stepping back and drawing at te same time....

              It was his good luck that my boot connected with his hand (breaking a finger in the process) and knocked the gun clear...had it not the next step would have been a double tap!

              Result...?

              13y/o kid at 1am with a plastic cap gun...not even that detailed, but in the dark it looked real enough to me!

              When is was all said and done partner and I sat there open mouthed at how close we both came to killing this kid who had run away from home...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sprocket View Post
                It happened in the county I live in, not work in, but they're both rural. The deputies here are overworked enough. If it would have been a "real" incident, I would have called the SO and got a unit out there but it would have been after I dealt with the 10-32. Guy swinging a shotgun around 10-15 yards from you doesn't give ya a time out to call for help. My choice was drive away and phone it in, possibly after the loon with a shotty takes out some folks, or get the drop on him and play through. Easy choice in my book...

                Frankly, being off duty I had more freedom to speak "strongly" than an on duty deputy would have. I've got no worries my Chief would back my play and trust my call. If I did, I'd find somewhere else to hang my hat.

                My point in posting was the hope A. Somebody learns from my experience and B. We all remain aware that "guns" aren't always lethal...
                Well you certainly know your area better than I do. I guess different parts of the country..... My point was not to scrutinize how you handled the situation. I can't say I would have done anything differently. My point was only to say, (in my area) it would have been a HUGE headache if we would have put ourself on-duty to confront a possibly armed individual, then after the situation was settled, not give the local PD or Sheriff's department at least a heads up. I have seen off duty officers CHARGED for DC for very similar incidents here. Of course, after they get an attorney involved the charges are settled and the officer is reprimanded. IMO if the situation is something where a squad would have been called in the first place, its worth the time to call one after you put yourself on duty and close the situation. It really doesn't matter that there are only a couple cops for a large area.... again different areas of the country, I guess.

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                • #9
                  My only thing is this, you used force (which was entirely justified) and pointed your firearm at a person (again, entirely justified). Did you complete ANY type of documentation for your agency? If not, when the kid complains to his dad, who then complains to the Sheriff, who then complains to your Chief, who see's that no report was done, it might not look good for you. Just my .02. I've been involved in a similar incident off-duty, where i've gone hands on to prevent a person from injuring another person, the first thing I did afterwards was call into my dispatch center, ask them to draw me a case number, then completed it as soon as I could, just to cover my a**.

                  Remember, if it's not in a report, it didn't happen. Without you documenting it, you're really leaving yourself open to the Chief only getting one side of the story, or worse yet, the parents filing a lawsuit and you being dragged into court to testify to something that you didn't do a report on. If you agency requires reports for use of force incidents, I'd imagine they do as well for uses of force done while off duty, but in your authority as a police officer.
                  Originally posted by K40
                  To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                  ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

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