A Brooklyn teen is the latest self-made victim after he chose to use a fake gun in the commission of a real crime.
Shortly after 12:40AM, 18 year-old Sergio Reyes was shot by police just blocks away from his Brooklyn, NY home. Reyes was allegedly trying to steal beer from a deli when an employee confronted him. That’s when Reyes threatened the employee with a gun before fleeing the scene.
Responding to the attempted armed robbery, police identified Reyes just down the block from the deli. After disregarding several verbal commands from the officer, Reyes raised his gun toward the officers and they were forced to shoot.
“The officers gave verbal commands, and engaged the suspect in front of 169 Starr Street. The suspect had a black firearm in his hand, and raised it towards the officers,” said Chief of Patrol Terence A. Monahan.
The gun Reyes had in his hand was a pellet gun.
Fighting back tears, Reyes’ father says he wasn’t aware his son even owned a fake gun. The high school senior’s aunt doesn’t understand why officers fired so many shots.
“Even if police would have shot him in the foot,” said Anthony Reyes, the suspect’s father. “If someone can please help me with justice for the family.”
But Reyes is just the latest individual to make the lethal decision to use a fake gun to commit a very real crime, and the damage they’ve caused is far-reaching.
Becky Metrick writes:
When it comes to responding to incidents where guns have been reported, police say they can’t let the potential for a gun to be fake come into play.
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Police Chief Ron Camacho said that typically, toy and imitation guns used in criminal activity are supposed to have a bright orange tip which is painted to hide the fact that it isn’t a real gun. However, that doesn’t always happen.
“The problem is that we (the police) cannot tell right off the bat if the guns are fake,” Camacho said. “Many times we can’t tell until we physically handle the weapon. So this is a very dangerous situation, one in which too much hesitation can get the officer shot.”
Every time a police officer has to react to a perceived threat, and a life is taken, intended or not, it begins to erode the connection between police and community. In addition, the personal effects on the officer involved are often devastating, perhaps even more-so in the aftermath once they realize the gun they were threatened with was a toy.
Once again, if children were taught the four rules of gun safety early on, they would know to always treat guns as if they are real and to never point a gun at anything they’re not willing to destroy, understanding that if they pull a gun on anyone, they should expect to have a gun pulled on them as well.