A Ridgeland police officer’s quick thinking and training avoided a tragedy after two teens brandished two bb guns that looked like real pistols.
A scary moment that was all caught on camera, WJTV 12’s Margaret-Ann Carter joins us with Chief John Neal’s plea to parents.
When placed side by side it’s tough to tell a bb gun apart from Chief John Neal’s glock 23, but thankfully one veteran officer was able to did just that, in a split-second.
“It looks just like a real gun and when you’re in a parking lot at 5:30, sun’s going down and you thought you had seen a gun in somebody’s hand earlier, and you pull up on them, and they pull this out and make a sweeping motion and point it at you. That’s a threat,” Chief John Neal explains the situation an officer recently encountered.
A threat that, had it been another officer, could have been met with deadly force.
The officer in this case, did not open fire, instead he handcuffed the boys and called their parents. His parents were visibly shaken and angry with the teens. While these boys don’t understand the harsh punishment Chief Neal does.
“They don’t understand how bad this could have happened. My God a bb gun. They don’t understand life. they don’t understand 17 years old,” he became emotional just thinking about what could have happened.
It’s a potentially dangerous situation happening more and more often. Just $35 or $40 will buy you a realistic bb gun, but could cost you your life.
“A reasonable person probably would have shot this 16 year old and to the courts that’s fine, but we lose a 16 year old for no reason, and we lose a good veteran police officer for no good reason. Who’s got to go through all the court battles, has to fight all of the mental battles, has to fight public perception,” Neal explained.
It’s a vicious cycle he’s urging parents to help break.
“My prayer is that in that moment will be the moment for the rest of his life, and he understands that, and he wakes up every morning, how thankful he is that he’s got a granddaddy like that, and a mama, that care enough to snatch a knot in his ass because the police can’t do it, we can’t,” he pleaded.
The case was sent into youth court and the teens were released to their guardians.
Chief Neal says he hopes these boys learned a lesson and it’s a lesson every parent needs to as well.