Sunday, January 29, 2006

Martial arts instructor fires airsoft pellet gun at 8-year-old

OLYMPIA — Police are investigating a martial arts instructor who disciplined an 8-year-old student by shooting him in the abdomen with an Airsoft gun loaded with plastic BBs.

The boy's parents filed a complaint this week against Scott Morgan, sensei and president of Black Lake Jujutsu, a nonprofit dojo at 1202 Black Lake Blvd. that offers an after-school program for youngsters to study homework and martial arts. It also has adult classes.

The boy was not seriously hurt. The BB, fired from about six feet away, caused some pain and left a red mark that lasted a few days. His parents have pulled him from the program.

The case was assigned to an officer to investigate, Olympia police Sgt. John Hutchings said Thursday. The incident happened Monday, after the student threw a pencil at another student.

Morgan said he made an error in judgment and apologized to the student and the student's mother. He said he had been ill and stressed and was frustrated with the student's disruptive behavior. He said it was a “knee-jerk” reaction.

“When I make my mistakes, I have to be responsible enough to say I was wrong,” he said.

The boy's mother, Rebecca Orbeck, said she's disturbed by the behavior and by the fact that the instructor didn't tell her until she confronted him. Her son reported it to her Tuesday, the day after it happened... (for full article please click on link)...

“I just want to make sure other kids are safe,” Orbeck said. “I feel that, as an adult, he should know better. He's there to set an example, and this is not the type of discipline he's trying to teach those kids. I can't believe he did that.”

Both of the boy's parents work for The Olympian.

Airsoft guns often are used during games in which participants try to shoot each other with paintballs or plastic BBs.

The Orbecks said they wonder why the gun was at the dojo.

Morgan said the spring-loaded gun belongs to his son, who stores it at the school. His son and older students occasionally strap on safety goggles and use Airsoft guns for games. It was out on his desk, which is why he reached for it Monday. He said he now keeps it locked up.

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