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10-Year-Old Arrested in Armed Robbery of 9-Year-Old’s Beanie

May 18, 1991

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A 10-year-old boy pointed a gun at the head of a 9-year-old and ordered him to turn over his multicolored, propeller-topped beanie, police said.

The fourth-grader, just over 4 feet tall, told police he found the .22- caliber revolver outside an abandoned house. He walked up to the 9-year-old boy who was strolling home from school Friday with his 11-year-old sister, police said.

″Yo, gimme your hat,″ the boy said, according to a police report. When the 9-year-old refused, the robber allegedly raised the revolver to his victim’s head and ordered him again to hand over the beanie.

The younger boy complied, then ran with his sister to the nearby home of an aunt, who called police.

Police drove with the children and their aunt to the home of the 10-year- old, who attends the same school as the victim, and recovered an unloaded gun. The boy was charged as a juvenile with assault, robbery and a handgun violation and released into the custody of his mother.

The boy admitted using the gun to rob the 9-year-old, police said, but claimed he had not intended to harm him.

″It wasn’t loaded,″ the boy told police. ″I wanted the hat because I liked it. I said, ‘Can I hold your hat?’ The boy ran.″

Police were troubled by the case.

″How hard is it to get a gun, when a 10-year-old can get it?″ said Sgt. John Sieracki, who heads a drug enforcement unit. ″He’s so little that he doesn’t know what could have happened.″

Officer Edward G. Wojcik said that after the arrest, he and the boy talked about a tragedy that might have been: a police officer shooting a young child holding or raising a gun in the officer’s direction.

″If you had turned on me and I had seen it was real and thought my life was in danger, I would have shot you,″ Wojcik said.

″You would have shot me?″ said the boy, his brow furrowed.

″Yeah,″ replied the officer, ″I would have shot you. I would have felt real bad afterward, but at least I would have gone home alive.″

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