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Sad, and kind of old story

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Sniper X, Apr 16, 2008.

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  1. Sniper X

    Sniper X Member

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    I lived in Albuquerque a few years ago. I was living in a fairly large house 2975sqft for only one guy and a buddy who was a roommate after my divorce. I use to shoot my bow in my side yard a few hours a day and when cops would drive by they would usually stop, watch, and be amazed at the tight groups, give me a thumbs up and drive off.

    One day a kid walks up and watches for a few minutes and starts asking questions. He was obviously how should I say this, mentally not all there. But he was pleasant, very well mannered, and pretty articulate for a kid who was chronologically about 19 but mentally about 9~10. Nice kid.

    He would come around in the summer and watch me shoot for an hour or so and go back to where he was living with his grandparents because his parents were both crank (Meth) heads.

    One day he showed up with his new very coveted prize, a new pump action single shot pellet gun his GP's had bought him. This was in an area where there was a big field that had a bunch of prairie dogs in it ripe for the pickens.

    He had gotten a job as a dish washer at the Denny's type restaurant at the corner by my house, which was only about 30 yards away from my front door.

    He would walk to work and stop at the Prairie dog town and shoot at them ( missing he wasn't a good shot) and go on to work where he would stash the pellet gun in the bushes, go work, get the gun back out and walk home.

    One night a customer saw him getting the pellet gun out of the bush, and called 911 from the restaurant, probably a total anti, she was interviewed after the fact and said she thought it looked like a "Canon".

    He got about to my front walkway and the cops swooped in like they were about to collar Charles Manson, there were about 12 of them. They of course used the regular protocol to get him to drop the weapon, but of course he didn't understand them. Remember he was only about 9 years old mentally and probably scared crapless....

    well you probably know where this is going, they shot and killed him and had I been there I would have not only been able to tell them he was mentally challenged, but been able to tell them it was a FRIGGIN PELLET GUN!

    My whole reason for posting this is two fold, why weren't the cops trained well enough in weapons recognition to see this was obviously a pellet gun, and why didn't someone form the Shoney's come out and tell them it was a pellet gun or that he was mentally challenged, I hear they were all at the window watching this unfold. AND the cops listened to one scared rabbit who said this little toy of a pellet gun Looked like a Canon!


    It bugged me then and bugs me now that the police got away with this screw up and makes me know they are still to this day under trained in some factors of a very important area they should know about.
     
  2. Conqueror

    Conqueror Member

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    I'm sorry for the outcome of the story, but I have seen many pellet guns that look identical to real-steel, and would be particularly difficult to distinguish in a high-stress or poorly-lighted environment.
     
  3. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    It would bother me a lot if this happened around here, to someone I knew. Conquerer has a good point about there being very realistic looking pellet guns around. Some Airsoft guns are near exact copies of the real deal and if you painted over or removed the orange muzzle ends, there'd be no way to assure they weren't real guns without close examination.
    That's a little difficult after the fact.
    The police may need better training in a lot of municipalities. But I don't think that is a cure-all.
    What happened was tragic, but I can't condemn the police officers involved. One has to ask what they reasonably believed was true under the circumstances. Did they know the guy was mentally challenged? Did they have any reason to believe the gun was only a pellet gun? What level of danger would they reasonably believe they were in if the gun was real?
    I wasn't there, and can't really answer those questions. Training might not have helped.
    A tragedy indeed ... I'm sure those officers will remember that incident for the rest of their lives.
     
  4. highorder

    highorder Member

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    that is a sad story, but stashing a weapon of any sort in an unsecure public place is bound to lead to situations like this.
     
  5. serrano

    serrano Member

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    Walk with an air rifle, expect to be shot. Got it.
     
  6. Pat-inCO

    Pat-inCO Member

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    Because the cops have a RIGHT to go home safely at the end of shift!

    It is NOT up to the cops to raise someone else's kids! It is NOT up to the cops to think for the parents or grand parents. :fire:

    So now it is up to the cops to sacrifice themselves, just in case the "man with a gun" is not a problem?! :banghead: Just in case the "man with a gun" is that 1 in a million that is a harmless retard? :eek:

    WAKE UP! The police have a second or as much as three seconds to make a decision that could easily make their wife a widow if they are wrong.

    What would you have done, in that position, if you didn't know that 19 year old? You did not know that he was retarded. You did not know that it was a "FRIGGIN PELLET GUN!" All you could see was a 19 year old that did not respond to commands and had a GUN! Remember 18 year old "kids" are going to war in Iraq!

    If you want to whine or scream about this, go to the parents or grand parents.THEY are the ones that deserve it!!
     
  7. Werewolf

    Werewolf Member

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    NO - THEY - DON'T!

    They have no more right to go home safe than a soldier in Iraq does.

    They chose to be police. They chose to accept the danger.

    That doesn't mean they have to act foolishly BUT it seems these days that no amount of risk or danger is acceptable to the police and thus we the people have to suffer so this elite class of citizen, more deserving of safety than us, can go home safe at night.

    That attitude makes me sick to my stomach. I am oh so glad that the guys I served with in the army didn't have that attitude. The ultimate consequence of which will be the total abrogation of citizen rights in the name of police safety.
     
  8. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Neither soldiers or police may have the "right" to go home, but you can bet your ***** that they will do everything rightfully in their power to assure that they do.
    Again, what do the police reasonably believe to be true in the circumstances they found?
    You know, I wish we all could control, 100%, all the circumstances and permutations and possibilities of every event we encounter. That can't be. It is beyond the human ability to do that, and these police were only human.

    Maybe one of the officers feels so bad that the next time he encounters an "UNSUB" with a similar weapon, he'll hesitate.
    And maybe then it will be a real gun.
    And the officer will never go home again.

    Tell me that can't happen.
    It isn't a matter of who has what "right." It is a matter of what is practically possible to do in a human world where murphy's law is unrepealable, and people die, and there is no "director" to yell "cut" at the end of the scene and all the "dead" people get up and wash off the phony blood.
     
  9. jr45

    jr45 Member

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    Sniper X,
    Sad story with a tragic ending. I lived in Albuquerque for 3yrs (early 90s on the edge of the city) and remember that it was an open carry state. I even remember a neighbor would have a loaded shotgun on his truck's rifle rack (was legal).

    Not enough information is provided to indicate what transpired prior to the shooting (i.e. was he holding the rifle, pointing, etc)...really tough call for the police. Did this happen with the Bernalillo County Sheriffs or the Albuquerque PD?

    One more thing: In NM, it is lawful to carry unloaded firearm (I assume long guns are included) except on school premises, grounds, school bus, or any public building or grounds where school-related and sanctioned activities are performed...please correct me if I am wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  10. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    I'm sorry that happened, but I do not fault the police. Most pellet guns look nearly identical to real firearms; my Crossman air rifle would be indistinguishable from a real hunting rifle from more than about 10 feet away, especially if the lighting is not excellent.

    He never should have been carrying that thing to and from work without some kind of case. Even as annoying as unstable antis can be, I can't expect even a hardened gun nut to think "oh, that MUST be a pellet gun, and that's OK." It is tragic, but if there is any fault to be assessed, it lies with those who did not prevent him from carrying that thing openly (especially considering he was mentally disadvantaged).
     
  11. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    No. Walk home with an air rifle, and when the cops show up refuse to follow orders or handle that air rifle in such a way that they find threatening, expect to be shot.

    By all accounts, the cops didn't shoot the kid because he was just walking home with it. They obviously confronted him, and at some point felt as if he was a threat. What his actions were that may have caused this, we don't know because the OP's reporting of the incident leaves much to be desired in terms of facts.
     
  12. Sniper X

    Sniper X Member

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    Pat, two things, fisrt no duh, secondarily, you missed the poiint about this being not only obviously an AIR RIFLE, to anyone older than say about 10, but the fact that if you weren't able to tell this kid was "not all there in the first thirty seconds of a conversation" you aren't qualified to be a cop.
     
  13. XDKingslayer

    XDKingslayer member

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    I'm sorry, but I'm so tired of hearing this it isn't funny.

    For those that don't seem to get it: being a cop is dangerous, you might die.

    That being said, if you feel you should be guaranteed the ability to go home safely each night, being a cop isn't for you.

    That's the difference between soldiers and cops. Soldiers rarely kill mentally challenged teenagers holding pellet guns just to go home safely.
     
  14. woodybrighton

    woodybrighton member

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    cops in the uk have seen real guns disguised to look like toy guns
    toys and replica guns made to look real
    and once an idiot using what he thought was a replica was a real gun cocked and locked:(
    when the nice policemen tell you to freeze do as they say or expect incoming:(

    had this happen to me once at a hostel resident comes in with one of those dumb lighters that look like pistols ands showing off. my words were don't show that off in public or the cops might shoot you.
    unbeknownst to me another resident who was paranoid had gone phoned the cops and they arrive tooled up.
    after a short time lying on the floor with multiple mp5s aimed at me was peacefully resolved
     
  15. Sniper X

    Sniper X Member

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    BTW, it was this one
     

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  16. jr45

    jr45 Member

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    The difference is that in NM (and the rest of the USA); you can legally posses a firearm. The OP is questioning weather the police should have fired on a handicap teen with an air rifle (I believe you can legally carry an unloaded long gun there? Not sure.:confused:). This story hits home for me...I have a 12yr old autistic son and I lived in Albuquerque for 3yrs (early 90s). My brother was with the Albuquerque PD for 8yrs (internal affairs) and I heard from him and personally experienced heavy handedness from the police there. However, since there is not much information discussing what happened just prior to the shooting, I would have to give the police the benefit of the doubt and assume that they thought the rifle was real and the teen performed some threatening acts.
     
  17. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    Mentally deficient people can kill you just as dead as geniuses. Guns are quite user friendly.

    At night, even that air rifle (which in daylight I would see it as a rather popular model of air rifle) looks like an actual lethal weapon.

    I fully agree that being a police officer is a dangerous line of work, and I have gone on record here before stating that if a police officer is not willing to put his or her life on the line to protect the rights of others, then that person needs to find a new career.

    However, in the dark, with a person holding what appears to be a lethal weapon, and that person refuses to drop it (due to being contrary or being slow witted), that officer is justified in the use of lethal force.

    It is a tragedy, and if I were the officer I am sure I would be haunted by it, but you are expecting EVERYBODY in this incident to have perfect complete knowledge of everything involved. Everybody, that is, except the youngster. That isn't reasonable. If you expect people unfamiliar with firearms to know that the guy is mentally deficient and that the firearm is fake, as well as expecting the same from the police officers faced by what appears to be an armed suspect, you are being unrealistic.

    There have been times when the police have gone off half-cocked and acted with extremely unnecessary force based on highly dubious information. This does not appear to rise to that standard. I am sorry for everyone involved, but in this day and age, walking around with even a fake gun openly displayed and in hand is not a wise thing to do in the vast majority of places.
     
  18. HK G3

    HK G3 Member

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    I have a friend whose best friend was killed by the cops when he was about 15 years old.

    His friend was mentally ill, and off his meds (I'm pretty sure there are tons of wrongful death by cop stories that start this way...), and was acting so erratically that the parents felt obliged to call the police to help gain control of the situation again.

    When the cops arrived, he was brandishing a butter knife and babbling incoherently. Obviously, the four 300+lb police officers that arrived on the scene that night felt that the scrawny 130 lb teenager was a deadly threat to their lives with that butter knife of his, so one of them opened fire, and discharged the entire magazine of his service weapon into that kid's chest. All of his fellow officers went on to testify on his behalf and that he behaved appropriately.

    One would think that LEOs would be required to take training to teach them how to handle mentally ill individuals, but apparently they don't. That is the major thing that I just don't understand.
     
  19. USMC 1975

    USMC 1975 Member

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    I pity the poor CCW permit holder whoever blows away a mentally challenged teen who is holding an air rifle.

    We shall see how forgiving and understanding the cops and courts are with the CCW holder at that time.

    Chris
     
  20. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    hkg3

    what town did this happen to your friend of a friend. story like that oughta leave some kinda verifiable trail
     
  21. realmswalker

    realmswalker Member

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    As tragic as it is, I can't see any fault in the police departments actions. There are some factors that we don't know like, how dark it was, or what the BB gun looked like exactly. How far away were the officers from the kid?. Did the kid in his confusion point the gun at the officers?


    And to those who say that you should be able to recognize wether it's a bb gun or not, I find that to be complete garbage. From ten feet away a bb gun and a rifle can look pretty much identical. The old pump action bb guns looked almost exactly like a lever gun.

    If it was dark it would be impossible to distinguish. Even it wasnt dark, I guarantee they were more than ten feet away, and from any kind of decent distance, are you going to take a chance with your life on wether it "might" be a bb gun.

    Let's say for example they thought it might be a BB gun. I don't know much about bb guns, but I do know that some of them can shoot fast enough that if it hit you in the eye, theres a good chance it could kill you.

    About the mentally ill part, a gun in the hand of a person wether mentally ill or not, can still end your life. I would treat that situation as a threat to my life wether the person was mentally off, or the most sane person in the world.
     
  22. evilelvis

    evilelvis Member

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    I'm about as "get the government and police" out of my way as much as possible but I really can't fault them for this. Can everyone of you quickly identify a movie gun - make model, etc every single time from a distance? Imagine doing that in real life where the consequences if you are wrong is you are shot.

    That being said...this was some guy out in the open. While I despite idiotic mistakes the police can make which do result in no prosecution yet should (no knock raids, wrong addresses) for things that can be easily planned, it's hard to find fault in a situation like this with the officers.
     
  23. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Realmswalker, and others are correct. I don't blame the cops. At night, at typical contact distances, an air rifle can easily look like a real rifle - and even if it did obviously look like a pellet gun - they can kill too. Just because it's a "toy' doesn't mean it's any less dangerous should a projectile hit you.

    And even if he was retarded, that doesn't make him a teddy bear. I've volunteered at nursing homes in the past, and my sister is a nurse - we both know how unpredictable some individuals with mental retardation or other mental illness issues can be. One of the classic symptoms of mental retardation (downs syndrome, etc) is unpredictable mood swings. That young man could have gone from sweet & cuddly to super pissed and umanageable in seconds. That's a fact. Have you ever heard the expression "retard strength"? It's usually used in a more-or-less inappropriate way, but it's called that for a reason. An individual in an altered state of mind (whether it's due to drugs, mental illness, or dimished mental capacity) can be ridiculously strong. Those cops did what they could. It's a damn shame that the boy had to get shot, but a threat is a threat, and if he wasn't complying with orders, and brandishing a weapon ("real" or not) they are required to react as necessary to stop that threat and get control of the situation.
     
  24. esmith

    esmith Member

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    Sad story but the truth probably is that the police had probable cause to shoot the kid. I have a classic army m15 armalite rifle that without the orange band on the muzzle, would look damn near identical to the real thing. I don't know about you guys, but if someone who i don't know with what looks like a real gun refuses my orders to abandon that gun, im not wasting much time to shoot him. The police were correct in their actions, but im sure they are having trouble living with what they did.
     
  25. velobard

    velobard Member

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    On top of that, cops have come across real guns that "bad guys" have painted with orange tips, etc, to make them look fake.

    This is a tragic story, but without knowing more details I can't condemn the cops. For starters, if he was that mentally challenged it sounds like he should have been supervised while using even a pellet gun. I have some perspective here, my little sister was mentally challenged and I knew lots of her friends that had varying degrees of problems.
     
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