Skip to comments.Boy, 12, with toy gun shot, killed by police
Posted on 06/24/2007 9:03:49 AM PDT by DCBryan1
Boy, 12, with toy gun shot, killed by police
W. Memphis officers were on stakeout
BY JACOB QUINN SANDERS ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
A West Memphis police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old boy late Friday night, mistaking the childs silver toy gun for a real handgun, authorities said Saturday.
The shooting occurred about 9:53 p.m. while two officers were on a stakeout hoping to break a string of convenience-store armed robberies near North 24th Street and Goodwin Avenue.
The officers waited in the dark parking lot of the Steeplechase Apartments just south of Interstate 40 and Interstate 55. They saw two people, yelling and running, and got out of the car to confront them, Assistant Police Chief Mike Allen said.
One of the two running had something in his hand that looked to one of the officers like a gun, Allen said.
We carry Glock .40-caliber handguns, and this weapon appeared to be a silverish replica of that type of firearm, Allen said.
The officers hollered at the two people, ordering one to drop the gun. The person made what Allen called an evasive action, and one officer fired at least two shots, the assistant chief said. I dont think the officer realized until after the shooting that this boy was as young as he was, Allen said. He just had no idea.
The victim, DeAunta Farrow, graduated from the sixth grade at Maddux Elementary School 28 days earlier. Believe it or not, said his aunt, Katherine Townsend, he wanted to be a police officer. Its pretty bad that his life was taken by a police officer.
Townsend said DeAunta was a good neighborhood kid, saying, Yes, maam, no, maam, and was often at the apartment complex, where another aunt and two cousins live. He was supposed to spend the night Friday with his cousin, Unseld Nance Jr., 14.
Instead, she said, Unseld saw his cousin die. West Memphis police called in Arkansas State Police investigators one from Forrest City and one from Marianna to make a report on the shooting to the Crittenden County prosecuting attorneys office, which will decide whether to file criminal charges against the officers involved.
If it takes a week, it takes a week, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said Saturday. If it takes two weeks, so be it. Allen declined to identify the officers but said they were veterans with at least five years of experience in West Memphis. Both were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. The department has 83 sworn police officers for the city of 27,000 people.
Something like this affects the whole community, not just our department, Allen said. Clearly, our hearts go out to this victims family. This just tears you up. Both our officers in this thing have families of their own, and theyre hurting, too. They relied on their training and got the outcome every officer has nightmares about. At the same time, I would hate to know that they hesitated and found out that gun was real. This was the first time in Allens almost 27 years on the West Memphis police force, he said, that someone carrying a fake gun had been shot by an officer. He said the neighborhood where the shooting occurred had changed substantially.
I wouldnt consider it a war zone or a real high-crime area, he said. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago it was. But now? I mean, have crimes occurred in that particular area? Yes. Have shootings occurred in that particular area? Yes. But its been getting a whole lot better. Allen met Saturday morning with DeAuntas mother, Debra Farrow, and a house full of other relatives and family friends.
This is a very small town, and my son played football with someone who was a relative of this woman, Allen said of the boys mother. The night before, he said, he had seen her hyperventilate at the scene of the shooting, several blocks from her home at 1917 Goodwin. The only thing I can describe it as was shes still in shock, Allen said.
Townsend said family members were skeptical of the official version of events but still hope that they will get answers. I dont want to talk bad about the police because we need the police, she said. But I can only pray that justice is done. She said children from all over the half-block-wide apartment complex saw the shooting.
These kids are 5, 6, 7, 8 years old, and someone they know just got murdered, she said. How do they deal with that and still respect the police? The reach of the police, it goes a long, long way but the truth do, too. This child is not going to die in vain.
In my little town here in southwest PA the fire alarm sounds at 9:45 every night. Thats the curfew. Under 18 years old get off the streets. Yes weekends too.
Sounds like your little town in southwest PA has a rabidly out-of-control city council bent on ruling the lives of its citizens. That sort of government interference in people's private lives is inexcusable, IMO.
Not only does it seek to usurp the authority of the parents, but it greatly limits the opportunities available to 16 and 17 years olds who are looking for part-time, after school jobs. When I was in high school, I bagged groceries until the store closed at 10 p.m. and then mopped the store until I got off work at midnight.
Have you considered running for office against these communists on your city council?
If two or more kids had similar full sized handguns I probably would have been more willing to assume they were on their way to go target practicing or that they were actually playing cops and robbers.
The fact that just one of them had a gun and he was letting the other kids examine it made me think that he had his dads gun, without permission of course. The one thing that they had going in their favor was that they didn’t make any effort to conceal it until the ‘owner’ tucked it into his belt beneath his T-shirt and they all rode away on their bikes.
Working against them was that the sun was behind them which obscured my vision and that it was a full size weapon. The other three kids live up the street from me and they are normal guys. The gun ‘owner’ was a new kid to me.
Good thing we've got government making sure we're responsible.
There are also a couple of Airsoft and/or paintball fields set up where you pay to play against others or for a group to rent or whatever. We've never used those, so I don't really know how they work.
Airsoft, IMO, are not very good for cops and robbers type playing, though I know a lot of kids do use them like that.
According to local news in Memphis the police were on stake out for drug dealers...kid was told repeatedly to put the item in his hand down and he ignore the policeman’s order. When he aimed at them they opened fire. A tragic situation all around.
Correction my memory was faulty they were looking for thugs who repeatedly broke in to local businesses...probably to feed drug habits.
I can't imagine the government telling me what time my kids have to be home.
Our oldest son, 11, has a friend down the street who is 10. Frequently, the neighbor kid stays late and watches movies with us on Friday nights. Sometimes, especially during the summer, they play in the yard or back and forth between our house and his house. Often, they're playing until 10 or 10:30 at night.
Our son always walks him home. If we lived in your town, my son would be in trouble with the law.
As I've been instructed on this thread today, my child shouldn't be out that late, he is poorly behaved because he is out that late, I am a bad parent because he is out that late and, if he's toting an Airsoft gun, he deserves to be shot by the police for being out that late.
That's all well and good for all the folks who have been educating me this afternoon, but I'm pretty satisfied with the behavior of my children, they're pretty happy playing outside after dark, and I wouldn't stand for any city council telling me that my son has to be in the house at 10 p.m.
My desire is to get my kids outside as often as I can.
When I was in high school, my curfew - set by my parents - was midnight. That gave me time to work an after school job, it gave me time to take girls to movies that didn't start until 8 p.m., it gave me time to take those girls down to the baseball field to make-out before they had to be home.
Kids should be allowed to be kids, and the government doesn't need to force them indoors when there's all kinds of fun stuff for them to be doing.
Although it was 11 PM we werent thinking about robbing and killing. Not like a lot of these little monsters nowadays.
The difference, I guess, is that I don't see them as "little monsters" plotting murder. Maybe they're going to roll a yard, but rolling yards is fun, too.
The story doesn't say the kid was repeatedly told to do anything. The story also doesn't say the kid aimed at the police.
Whether or not the kid made a poor decision by not obeying the cop's orders is not in question. I've disputed the assertions by some that the kids were "running the streets" or that their parents should not have allowed them to be out at 9:53 p.m. I've also disputed the claims that they were running from the police or pointing fake guns at the police. If the local news is saying that's what they were doing, fine ... this story is all I've read, all I know about it, and it doesn't indicate that they were doing either of those things.
Instead, the story says they were yelling - which kids are apt to do when they're outside playing - and running - which kids are apt to do when they're outside playing.
The cops, who were there on a stakeout, inserted themselves into the situation when they heard the yelling and saw the running, according to the story.
Again, I don't know that the cops necessarily did anything wrong. But this story does not suggest to me that the kids or their parents were doing anything wrong, either.
A tragic situation all around.
P.S. Stop taking everything so personally. Sheesh.
“Kids play with toy guns, they yell when they’re outside. There’s nothing wrong with it ...”
Run around my neighborhood yelling and playing “guns” at 10 PM and I’m calling the cops.
I remember when I was a kid, in the Summer, wed leave the house right after breakfast (sometimes right after sunrise after a bowl of Captain Crunch) and run about the neighborhood until lunch. Some times wed go home for lunch and sometimes someones mom would make PB&J sandwiches and Kool-Aid for every kid in the neighborhood.
Wed eat, drink and then go right back to playing.
The boys played baseball and dodge ball or with matchbox cars or played pretend cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians or WWII battle games with toy guns.
Us girls skipped rope and played house and with our Barbies, but some of us girls (like me) liked to play the pretend games with the boys with toy guns because it was more fun and we didnt want to wait and sit at the edge of the yard, just playing nurse to the pretend casualties.
I remember fighting with the boys, saying I should have a gun too, if only for self defense and that I was a very good baseball catcher.
I also remember fighting with some of the girls saying that being a girl was about more they looking pretty . I guess I was a Tomboy.
Wed play pretty much unsupervised, running and riding bikes (without knee pads and helmets) and although we really didnt know at the time, every parent in the neighborhood was looking out for each and every one of us.
If we were lucky some kid in the neighborhood had a pool in his back yard or a trampoline.
Wed go home at dinnertime when our stay at home mom, dad and sisters and brothers, all ate a meal together, that mom lovingly cooked for us, and then wed chomp at the bit to go back outside until dark or sometimes after.
We didnt know why or how, but we felt safe. We didnt worry about drug pushers, child molesters and pedophiles. We werent allergic to peanut butter and we werent on prescription drugs for hyperactivity. Our neighbors allowed us to play in their yards and pools without any lawyers being involved. If one kid hit another, no one called the police but some kid got a spanking and had to make an apology and got grounded.
Im not taking a hundred years ago here, but the late 60s, early 70s.
But times have really changed since then.
Today, in the inner city and even some suburbs, kids as young as ten or even younger are heavily involved in the drug trade. They have no mother or father or caring neighbor to look after them, the drug pushers are their only source of family and stability. Some of these kids arent pretending, they carry real guns and arent afraid to shoot at the police. And sometimes the police have no choice but to shoot back
I wouldnt want to be a kid again if I had to be a kid now days.
The fact that just one of them had a gun and he was letting the other kids examine it made me think that he had his dads gun, without permission of course.
Or that he was a kid showing off his toy, sheesh, you must live in a bad neighborhood to be so negative.
Actually I live in a very quiet upper class area. Children with weapons on the street are a very unusual sight though.
Just guessing, but I would imagine at least 50% of my neighbors have firearms. A few that I know have nice collections.
i live in muskogee, oklahoma, but i was raised in west memphis. i do have two children in that age group, and they are allowed to stay on our street until 9 pm. i dont think i was allowed to stay out after dark until i was about 15 or so. first off, if the cops were staking out the apt complex for drugs, why would you even let your kids stay out there after dark, hoping they get in on the cut? i do agree that children should have a little freedom when they turn 10 or 11, but a little at a time. give them too much, you pay for it later on. when you live in a suspect place, you have to act accordingly. i do not agree that the kid should have been shot, i hate it, makes my heart break for him and his parents, what a lesson to be learned that way, but what was the cop supposed to do... get close enough to see that it wasn’t a real gun and get shot? its just a sad situation all around, but making it out to a race thing is not going to bring that boy back. we have to get a point that we make some changes on how we raise our children... white and black! thanks for readin!
What happened to the days of playing cops and robbers or cowboys and indians without being shot by undercover cops?
Me too. Never saw the cops, though. I grew up in the boonies, sort of.
Some nights we’d be out WAY past midnight. Heck, we used to go camping without any parents when i was 12. We didn’t bring toy guns, either, we brought our real guns. And fishing poles. And matches. Sometimes we’d steal a can of beer, too. Nobody ever thought to bring an opener, though, so we’d usually just end up shooting it off a stump in the morning.
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