A Baltimore police veteran opened fire on a 14-year-old boy on Wednesday after he mistook his BB gun for a semiautomatic pistol. The young teen, Dedric Colvin, was walking down the street with a basketball in one hand and a Daisy Powerline 340 BB gun in the other hand. However, officers say the BB gun looked “100 percent real,” so they confronted the teen asking him to drop the weapon. When Colvin did not immediately drop the gun and turned to face the officers, Officer Thomas Smith opened fire on the boy, hitting him in the leg and shoulder. The injuries were not life-threatening, and the teen is expected to make a full recovery.
The Daily Mail reports that Baltimore veteran officer Thomas Smith shot 14-year-old Dedric Colvin on Wednesday evening after mistaking his BB gun for a semiautomatic pistol. It was reported that two plain clothes officers were returning from a department meeting when they saw Dedric walking down the street with a basketball in one hand and the replica pistol in the other hand. The officers claim they then identified themselves, but for some unknown reason, the teen then fled. After running about 150 yards, the officers claim that the teen turned towards them while still having the seemingly real weapon in his hand.
After turning around, officers say they yelled for the teen to drop the gun, but he did not comply. This is when Officer Thomas Smith opened fire on the boy, shooting him in the shoulder and leg. Dedric was immediately taken for medical care. Officers learned that the weapon they believed to be a semiautomatic pistol was actually a Daisy Powerline 340 BB gun, which looks remarkably similar to a handgun.
Following the shooting, Dedric’s older brother arrived at the scene to question the officers as to why they shot his little brother. The confrontation was caught on tape and shows Major Deron Garrity, who is responsible for the Southeastern District of Baltimore, explaining the situation to the brother. Garrity tells the brother that the gun “looked 100 percent real” and that he had no choice but to shoot after Dedric refused to drop his weapon. The officer and brother talk rather calmly as Smith says “no cop wants to shoot anybody.”
“Your little brother had a gun. I can tell you right now that the gun looked a 100 per cent real. A 1000% real. No cop wants to shoot anybody. But if somebody’s got a gun, how am I supposed to tell these officers, ‘Hey make sure that he shoots you first, and then you can do it?”
The upset brother tells Garrity that his brother wasn’t pointing a gun at anyone, so he doesn’t understand why they feel they had the right to shoot him. Garrity then explains that Dedric is going to be okay. After the brother says he would like to go to the hospital, the video ends.
While police officers claim that they repeatedly told the teen to put down the weapon before opening fire, witnesses at the scene claim that the teen never pointed the BB gun at police but did tell them “it’s not real” just prior to being shot.
“[Colvin] turned towards them but he wasn’t turning the gun towards them, and I’m positive I heard him say, It’s not real. He said, It’s not real. It’s not real, and that quick, the male officer shot him twice in the leg.”
Although the department believes that Officer Smith acted in fear of his own life believing the gun Dedric Colvin was holding was real, the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.
[Image via Facebook/ Baltimore Police Department]