BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) – Police have a warning about BB guns after what they say could’ve been a dangerous encounter between two teenagers and police officers.
The Bridgeville Borough Police chief says parents need to think about common sense and being responsible before buying BB guns for their children.READ MORE: Butler County Planning Walk And Candlelight Vigil To Remember Caitlyn Kaufman
In this incident, a teenager posted a picture with a BB gun on social media, but it was reported as a real gun and two teens ended up in police custody.
“You have to take a commonsense approach and you have to think the bigger picture, particularly when you’re going to have these items,” said Bridgeville Police Chief Chad King.
On Wednesday, the Bridgeville Police Department was notified after a teenager posted a picture of what looks like a real gun with the caption “don’t care.”
“You have to put yourself in a mindset when you handle a call like that. You’re going to a potentially armed citizen, a potentially armed juvenile, not knowing their state of mind right now,” he said.
King says his officers found the boy and a friend on the railroad tracks. But instead of immediately pointing a gun at them, King says his officers first used de-escalation techniques. Then, after patting them down, they found the BB gun.
If you’re younger than 18, you can’t have a BB gun without an adult nearby, so the officers took the boys to the police station where their parents came and picked them up. But the chief says as the boys were leaving, “one juvenile uttered an obscenity followed by the word pig.”READ MORE: 'There's A Literal Bear In Our Backyard:' Black Bear Spotted Roaming Penn Borough Neighborhood
“Not that we let words bother us but it’s just the mindset of a child — 14, 15 years old — that is going to utter phrases like that given the time we’re in,” he said.
King says it’s comments like those that worry him about the future.
“I think it’s important we try to build bridges in the community and with this department, but having a mindset like that makes that tough for us to do. We’re all in this together,” he said.
The chief believes if it wasn’t for voluntary compliance — or if the kids had waved the gun around — the situation could have turned bad.
In a split second, he says, it can be hard to tell the difference between a real and fake gun and he urges caution.
In this case, both teens are charged with a violation of carrying and firing air rifles, which is basically a ticket.MORE NEWS: New Push In Pennsylvania Seeks To Give Frontline Workers A Boost In Hourly Pay
For parents, Chief King says to make sure you know what your child is getting into and teach them how to be responsible.