NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Fake or real? That’s what Metro police had to determine when responding to a call of a group of kids pointing guns as people passed by.
It’s a problem that has cost some children their lives, and it almost happened in Nashville Friday morning.
Three young boys, between 10 and 14 years old, were handcuffed until police were able to sort things out, and not everyone is happy about that.
After Tamir Rice was shot and killed in Cleveland by a policeman while he was holding a toy gun, mother Anike Martin had a long talk with her son, who’s now 12.
“It scared me. It’s a fear of mine,” Martin said. “I told him we don’t play with guns; we don’t play with water guns.”
So Friday morning, he came running home from the bus stop to tell her police were putting handcuffs on some of his friends who had toy guns.
“They look real,” Martin said. “I mean, I can’t be upset with Metro police because they look real.”
Someone in the Germantown neighborhood off Sixth Avenue North called 911 and said a group of young boys was pointing guns at people.
“The handcuffs, I think it was a little extreme,” the concerned mother told News 2. “It’s morning time and they are on the school bus stop.”
Metro police FOP president Sgt. Danny Hale said the situation could have ended badly.
“I’ve seen some of these weapons that are in store and it would just amaze you how real they do look, and it puts everybody in a bad situation, because nobody wants anybody to get hurt,” Hale said.
The guns didn’t have the usual orange tip identifying them as toys.
Police said it’s important not to remove it.
“If the toy guns are purchased, please leave the orange coloration on there, because that gives these officers a quick clue that they are dealing with something that’s not lethal,” Hale said. “No officer in this city or any other city wants to have that catastrophe happen, that they got out and some kid pulled a toy gun and end up getting shot in the deal.”
Martin told News 2 there was a neighborhood market that sold the toy guns directly to kids.
She said she approached the owner, who told her at first he didn’t see anything wrong; they were just BB guns.
That was until she showed him the Tamir Rice video.
The store owner stopped selling the toy guns, according to Martin, who is happy her son got the message not to play with toy guns.
“Even though that wasn’t my son, that could have been my son if I had not practiced safety,” she said.
Metro police told News 2 one of the young boys will be charged with loitering. They were released to custody of their parents.
Officers gave the toy guns back to the parents and asked that they be destroyed.