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Boy, 12, with toy gun shot, killed by police
Arkansas Democrat Gazette ^ | 24 JUN 07 | Jacob Quinn

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 child’s 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 don’t 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. It’s pretty bad that his life was taken by a police officer.”

Townsend said DeAunta was a “good neighborhood kid,” saying, “Yes, ma’am, no, ma’am,” 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 attorney’s 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 victim’s family. “This just tears you up. Both our officers in this thing have families of their own, and they’re 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 Allen’s 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 wouldn’t 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 it’s been getting a whole lot better.” Allen met Saturday morning with DeAunta’s 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 boy’s 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 she’s 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 don’t 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.”


TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; crime; donutwatch; leo; memphis; police; toygun
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To: Caramelgal

Caramelgal,

I don’t remember you but it sounds like you grew up in my neighborhood (around the same time). :)


41 posted on 06/26/2007 3:35:01 PM PDT by Hazcat (Live to party, work to afford it.)
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To: 8n12yosmom
if the cops were staking out the apt complex for drugs, why would you even let your kids stay out there after dark

That's not why the cops were there.making it out to a race thing is not going to bring that boy back.

I didn't.

but what was the cop supposed to do... get close enough to see that it wasn’t a real gun and get shot?

You do understand, don't you, that if the cop had gotten close enough to see that it was not a real gun he would not have been shot.

I'm not necessarily faulting the cops. This was clearly a tragic accident. However, the police officers inserted themselves into this situation. No crime was committed by these kids.

I wasn't there and didn't see what happened, my information is limited to what is in this story, but the people on this thread who attempted to cast blame on the kids or their parents are off base.

42 posted on 06/26/2007 3:38:10 PM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: Caramelgal
I’m not taking a hundred years ago here, but the late 60’s, early 70’s.

It was like that in the late 70s and 80s when I was growing up, also. And in the neighborhood where I live now, it's still like that.

Except for the woman who owns the home (but rents it) across the street. She won't let the kids in her yard because she thinks we'll sue her if they get hurt.

43 posted on 06/26/2007 3:45:25 PM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: SittinYonder
It was like that in the late 70s and 80s when I was growing up, also. `And in the neighborhood where I live now, it's still like that.

I’m so glad you still live in a good place like we had when growing up as kids.

It reminds me of how things used to be.

One day I was waking home from school (First or Second Grade) when one of the neighborhood boys started throwing rocks at me and my friends. I got hit in the head really hard by a big rock and I came home crying and I told my Dad, who after making sure I wasn’t really hurt, consoled me but told me that while that was wrong, “that’s just the way some boys act”. He asked me who did it but before I could even tell him, a knock came at the door.

Standing at our door was our Church Pastor and his son; the son holding a bouquet of flowers in his hands and with many tears in his eyes. The pastor’s son (the rock thrower), asked for me and made a very tearful apology to me and gave me the flowers. Then our Pastor went on to explain to my parents how some other kids in the neighborhood witnessed what happened and “reported” him to his mom and dad and he went on to explain how “Eric” would be punished and grounded for what he did and taught a very important lesson.

Now feeling a lot more sorry for “Eric” than I did for myself, I accepted the flowers and the apology and my parents were glad that “Eric” was taught a lesson and all was well.

There were no lawyers, no councilors or behavioral drugs involved. “Eric” didn’t throw any more rocks and everyone in the neighborhood continued to get along just fine.
44 posted on 06/26/2007 4:39:57 PM PDT by Caramelgal (Rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings, not on the words or superficial interpretations)
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To: DCBryan1

Seems that law enforcement agencies are doing a bad job at weeding out the trigger-happy types in the hiring process. Either that or they’re teaching a very bad cirriculum at the police academies/BLET.


45 posted on 06/26/2007 7:41:15 PM PDT by Firefigher NC
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To: SittinYonder
You do understand, don't you, that if the cop had gotten close enough to see that it was not a real gun he would not have been shot.

How was the cop supposed to know that? It's so easy to sit back after the fact and say, well, just get really, really, really close to the suspicious-acting person waving a gun, and check and see if it's real first. But you'd have a lot more dead cops that way.

46 posted on 06/26/2007 8:11:08 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: A_perfect_lady
I didn't say the cop was supposed to know that, did I?

The person I was posting to said this:

but what was the cop supposed to do... get close enough to see that it wasn’t a real gun and get shot?

My only point in my response was that the cop would not have been shot. It was not a real gun.

You won't find anyone more pro-law enforcement than me. My best friend is a sheriff. I've been with his deputies when they were shot at. I've spent many, many, many hours hanging out with them while they are working and while they are playing.

But in this situation, no crime was committed. Cops inserted themselves into a situation when they had not been called upon. The only danger that existed was in their heads.

I am not blaming the cop, though I suspect he is blaming himself all the time. But - again - the people here who immediately cast blame on the parents or the kids were off base, in my opinion.

47 posted on 06/26/2007 8:22:36 PM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: SittinYonder
The only danger that existed was in their heads? They were on stake out to stop a string of ARMED ROBBERIES... presumably using real guns. Someone goes running through that same area yelling and waving a gun... Hello? Are they supposed to assume that all guns are fake until proven otherwise? And that people acting suspiciously right in the area they are investigating are probably just playing?

I mean, if you were a cop staking out an area, where, say, dead women bound in duct tape keep turning up, and one night a woman runs by screaming, followed by a guy waving duct tape, that... well... probably has nothing to do with it? Better stay out of it? Come on!

48 posted on 06/27/2007 8:27:10 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: SittinYonder

I should add that the kid was definitely at fault because when the officer yelled STOP, he didn’t STOP. When the police tell you to STOP, you STOP.


49 posted on 06/27/2007 8:29:21 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: A_perfect_lady
I mean, if you were a cop staking out an area, where, say, dead women bound in duct tape keep turning up, and one night a woman runs by screaming, followed by a guy waving duct tape, that... well... probably has nothing to do with it? Better stay out of it? Come on!

That's not hardly the same thing, is it?

They were on stake out to stop a string of ARMED ROBBERIES...

In convenience stores, not apartment complex parking lots.

The only danger that existed was in their heads?

Yes, and if you can't understand that then you have no ability for rational thought. Toy gun = no danger. The only danger that existed was in their heads, in their imaginations. At no point during this incident were those police officers ever in any danger at all whatsoever.

Perceived danger is different from real danger. I wasn't there and did not see what happened, so whether the perceived danger warranted him firing his gun or not, I can't say.

But as someone who shoots guns and has been with police when someone shot at them with a real gun (and they did not return fire), I can tell you that I would never pull my trigger without knowing what I was shooting.

The assistant police chief himself said this area had, 10 - 15 years ago, been a high crime area but it no longer was:

“I wouldn’t 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 it’s been getting a whole lot better.”

If you are a cop and you are in a residential area (ie. apartment complex) and you insert yourself into a situation and you fire your gun without knowing what you are firing at, you have made a terrible and tragic mistake.

I'm not saying it was criminal. I'm not saying he should lose his job.

But blaming the parents or the kids is stupid.

50 posted on 06/27/2007 10:56:48 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: A_perfect_lady
I should add that the kid was definitely at fault because when the officer yelled STOP, he didn’t STOP. When the police tell you to STOP, you STOP.

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.

51 posted on 06/27/2007 10:58:51 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: SittinYonder
Oh please!! Twelve years old is WAY old enough to know that when a police officer yells STOP at you, you STOP. We are not talking about a 5 year old.

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.

52 posted on 06/27/2007 12:22:08 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: A_perfect_lady
And asking cops to always assume a gun is fake till proven otherwise is just the most unreasonable thing I've heard in years.

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.

53 posted on 06/27/2007 12:32:58 PM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: SittinYonder
Why do you not understand that a person can not be shot by a toy gun?

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.

54 posted on 06/27/2007 8:30:00 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: A_perfect_lady
I don't know what's wrong with your ability to reason or comprehend what you're reading.

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 wasn’t 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.

55 posted on 06/28/2007 5:58:30 AM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: DCBryan1

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.


56 posted on 07/05/2007 9:03:10 PM PDT by giceman715
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To: giceman715; DaveLoneRanger; bang_list; Joe Brower
!My brother is a cop and he says “A cop is not supposed too fire his weapon unless he is fired upon”.

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

FReepgards...

57 posted on 07/07/2007 4:37:57 PM PDT by DCBryan1 (Arm Pilots&Teachers. Build the Wall. Export Illegals. Profile Muslims.Kill all child molesters RFN!)
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To: NRA2BFree
The shooting of DeAunta Farrow struck a raw nerve in West Memphis' Black community. Children step forward one at a time to announce, "I am DeAunta Farrow" during the latest of the many vigils held near where DeAunta died. The spot is marked with balloons, cards and a growing pile of toys and stuffed animals placed by friends and strangers alike. Four days after the shooting, hundreds packed a police commission meeting at City Hall, demanding answers from police officials—and getting none. 1,500 people turned out at DeAunta Farrow's funeral on July 1, where Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.
58 posted on 01/03/2010 1:17:34 PM PST by kcvl
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To: svcw

ah so running in streets now carries death penalty with no trial needed nice to know if i go jogging at night.


59 posted on 10/26/2013 5:30:46 AM PDT by thegothmog
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