Realistic looking BB gun causes scare in Apex

May 9, 2019

A very real looking BB gun caused problems for Apex police and the teen who was carrying it.

When police responded to a report of two young people near a Walmart with firearms, they asked the pair to put their hands up. One of the teens immediately dropped what looked like a gun, Capt. Ann Stephens said.

“The second juvenile, when he raised his hands, his shirt rode up, and they could see tucked in his waistband what looked to be a semi automatic handgun,” she said.

It wasn’t until officers had searched the teen and checked the weapon that they determined it was only a BB gun.

The realism was enough for the Apex Police Department to share the incident on Twitter as a warning.

“We’re very fortunate that this ended up the way it did,” Stephens said, “The biggest thing is we want parents to be mindful of (is) the types of toys that they are buying their kids.”

While many toy guns are sold with orange-painted tips, that is not a requirement, Stephens said.

“I think buying them that do have the orange tips is always a good start,” she said.

When police have to react quickly to a threat, the similarity between “toy” guns and the real thing can be deadly.

Tyre King had a BB gun when an Ohio police officer shot and killed the 13-year-old in Columbus, police say.

A police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland while he had an airsoft gun.

In both instances, police say, the boys were shot because they were drawing guns that the shooting officers mistook for standard firearms.

Jay Wallace, owner of gun and hunting equipment store Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, put together a comparison chart for CNN that shows BB guns, Airsoft guns and pellet guns made in the style and shape of a Glock handgun.

“There’s a split-second sometimes to make a decision, or if they’re running through someone’s backyard playing with an Airsoft gun that looks like an AR-15 and the neighbor doesn’t know these kids and doesn’t know that that’s what they’re doing, it can be a very dangerous situation, and we want parents to be aware of that,” Stephens said.