Monday, May 18, 2009

Mother Says D.C. Police Shot, Injured Boy Holding Toy Airsoft Gun

WASHINGTON - An outraged D.C. mother says her son was shot by D.C. police officers because, in part, he was playing with a airsoft toy gun.

The incident occurred on the 1400 block of Shepherd Street Northwest at around 6 p.m. May 4.

The 12-year-old boy and his dog Boss walk the streets of their neighborhood, but not without fear according to the child's mother, LaShawn English.

"I still can't believe that this happened to my son," she said.

English says the family's dog got out without his leash so her son chased after him down an alley, carrying a plastic Airsoft toy gun that shoots small pellets.

The toys are plastic, but from some online photos, they look quite real. The family suspects someone called the police when they saw what appeared to be someone armed in the alley.

Neighbor Lorena Marshall says she saw the child comply when the officer with his own gun drawn, ordered the child to drop the gun.

"I can hear him say, 'Get down, get down, get down,'" said Marshall. "And then when he cuffed him and I came over here I said, Can't you see it? It's a toy.'"

Police say the dog then charged the officer who shot and wounded the animal. Marshall, however, disputes that account. "No, the dog did not charge. The dog came over in a crouching position," she said.

English says a bullet fragment ricocheted and struck her son in the head. "I was floored. I was stunned. I was shocked," she said.

English says her son was treated and released from the hospital, but police say no injuries were reported to the officer.

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