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.
No, you shouldn't add that. A 12-year-old kid playing in the apartment complex parking lot where he is spending the night with his cousin can't be expected to react appropriately when he is suddenly confronted with two yelling cops - at least one of whom is pointing a gun at him.
I'm sorry, but this point you keep bringing up that the cop was in no real danger is moot. He had no way of knowing that. That is what YOU don't seem to get. And asking cops to always assume a gun is fake till proven otherwise is just the most unreasonable thing I've heard in years.
Obviously that apartment complex was near enough to the convenience store that it made for a good stake-out. Not to mention there is probably a very good reason they were at THAT complex. I hate this Monday morning quarterback stuff. You wave something that looks like a gun around a cop and ignore their calls to stop, you should definitely expect to be shot at.
I didn't. In this situation the cop should have. They were not there to investigate two suspicious looking people in the parking lot. They were not there because someone called them and said there were kids with a gun. They inserted themselves into this situation, and under those circumstances a little restraint would have saved the life of a kid who was doing nothing more than playing with his cousin.
The person I initially posted to asked me if the cop was supposed to get close enough to find out if the gun was fake and get shot. My response, as I've already told you once, was that if the cop had gotten closer he would not have been shot.
Why do you not understand that a person can not be shot by a toy gun? What about that concept is beyond your comprehension? If this cop had gotten closer, had chased down the kid (as cops usually do who aren't being fired at) and tackled the kid, he would not, ever, under any circumstances in this situation, have been shot by that toy gun. It can't happen. Impossible.
Twelve years old is WAY old enough to know that when a police officer yells STOP at you, you STOP.
You're right. The kid deserved to be killed.
Good riddance to him.
I'm sure the cop who shot him agrees with you.
WHAT??? Oh my GOD, now it's all CLEAR TO ME! You see, all this time I was laboring under the misconception that toy guns kill people every day and that is why a cop who sees someone with a toy gun should cap them immediately. Holy COW!! You have totally opened a whole new window on reality for me.
Let's just leave it at that, shall we? You'll be happy that I've gotten tired of trying to explain to you that you are missing the point, and I'll be happy to be done with someone who seems to be deliberately obtuse to the point of being ridiculous.
I've never said cops should always in all situations do anything. I don't make sweeping generalizations like that.
Someone else posted to me:
but what was the cop supposed to do... get close enough to see that it wasnt a real gun and get shot?
Now, go back and read that sentence one more time ... slowly, for effect. I've purposefully bolded the part of that sentence that I was responding to. I'm going to add emphasis, here, too, in an effort to help you understand: because the kid was carrying a toy gun as opposed to a real gun the cop would have never been shot. It cannot happen that anyone is shot with a toy gun.
Nowhere, in this thread or any other, have I suggested that the cop should have known that.
I have said that my opinion is - having not been there - that when police insert themselves into a situation where they were not called upon that they should exercise a little restraint.
I would suspect the cop that shot the kid would agree with me, because I imagine that unlike you he feels some remorse and regret over the killing of this kid. I further suspect that unlike you he is not blaming the kid.
I have not said the cop did something criminally wrong. In fact, I said I don't think based on this story that he should be prosecuted or fired. I have never suggested that in all circumstances police should wait until someone has fired at them before returning fire.
But as someone who shoots guns and takes it very seriously, as someone who has been with police many times - including once when the police I was standing with were shot at - and has seen how they react and talked to them at length about their training, I do believe that this situation called for restraint that the officer didn't show.
My position on this is shared by the deputies I've talked to about it. You may think you're right, but you're not.
I wanna say 1st this isn’t toward DCBryan1,just toward the subject.The fact of playing outside your home isn’t a crime,10:00 A.M. nor 10:00 P.M.The fact a cop shot a 12 year old playing with a toy gun is.I don’t care if he pointed the toy gun at the cop(not saying he did),the fact is it was a toy!My brother is a cop and he says “A cop is not supposed too fire his weapon unless he is fired upon”.Being a cop is very dangerous but so is crab fishing.You know what you’re getting into in being a cop,it’s a power trip for most.This 12 year old boy was playing in front of his cousins apt.instead of running the streets.So why was he shot,not ONCE, but TWICE.It did’nt say where he was shot,but we know it was twice.How can you be able to shoot someone twice without seeing your target.Where did he train at.Sounds like to me profiling.
Welcome to FR, tell your brother he is a dumba$$. I seriously doubt he is a cop, and if he is, I KNOW he didn't say that unless you are in London.
Secondly, you sure don't sound very cop-friendly, hence, I still doubt your brother is a cop.
Third, you know nothing of self defense and legal shoots. You shoot until the suspect quits the threatening action (perp runs from cops points an object threateningly) and drops. If you shoot and hit someone 14 times, that means that he didn't warrant a 15th shot b/c he stopped being a threat to you or your loved ones.
Take your drivel over to DU
ah so running in streets now carries death penalty with no trial needed nice to know if i go jogging at night.