Emergency Service

BB Gun Incident Could Have Been Fatal

When some juvenile hooligans cruised around West Boise Monday brandishing a BB pistol it had all the makings of a fatal chain of errors.

As it turned out no one was shot, but a 10-year-old girl was traumatized, a copper crashed a cruiser, the gunman was sent to juvenile detention leaving a path of horror and destruction in his wake.

We suspect there were some miscues by dispatch, the victim’s mother, and coppers. As usual in this type of incident the names of the juveniles are withheld, actions of the copper who crashed are “under investigation,” and any action determining error by the copper will be treated as a “personnel matter.”

A Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun similar to this one was seized by police.

A Daisy Powerline 415 BB gun similar to this one was seized by police.

Here are the key elements as we see them today:

–Mom called police when she got word from daughter that someone in a car had pointed a gun at her. Hard to take as a parent, but daughter was safe at school after relaying a good description of the suspect car. DID MOM MAKE IT CLEAR TO DISPATCH the incident was “cold” by at least twenty minutes since the girl had boarded a bus and gone to school after being targeted?

–Did dispatch make it clear the incident was cold when the call was relayed to coppers in the field? Was there more than one call to dispatch?

–Coppers who located the vehicle were perfectly within their rights and procedure to make a “felony stop.” That is the typical gunpoint apprehension, blocking traffic, shouting commands, etc. If the kid had pointed the BB gun at them he would be dead at this time.

–Did first contact officers go on “auto pilot” or did they take in the apparent age of the kids, the gender (at least one girl was along), time of day, location, etc. There are hundreds of “what ifs and unknowns,” but the difference between, “We got the car and it looks like four juveniles,” and an urgent cry for help can push the adrenaline of back up coppers to the critical point.

–Driving too fast without emergency flashers and siren activated can lead to collisions as evidenced in this case. There is no excuse for driving faster to a “felony stop” than to an injury traffic accident or family fight. Six months ago an officer totaled a squad car and a civilian vehicle on 13th Street rushing to back up a colleague who didn’t communicate clearly the nature of a call for back up.

We have an acting ombudsman at the present time and no word from City Council when or if a replacement will be advertised and hired. Meanwhile the elements we outlined all need to be addressed. The good news is all the kids, coppers, and drivers are still alive and no one got shot.

EDITOR NOTEPlease make comments regarding the incident and not a blanket bash of coppers. This incident is serious on many fronts and needs intelligent discussion.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Once again the Guardian with 20/20 historical vision has gotten it wrong. If it happened the day prior, it is “Cold” as you say. 20 minutes in real time is very near “just occurred”. The fact that the juveniles were located and arrested on your “cold” call is all the evidence needed to prove my point.
    Secondly, I fail to understand what you are trying to say when you bring up the age of the suspects. You seem to imply that the officers somehow overreacted somehow. Time of day, Location, female in the car. What the heck does all of that mean? Have you not seen all the headlines of teenagers shooting people. It is well known that teenagers make poor choices, because they are TEENAGERS. Their decision making is poor. I won’t cite the studies of the development of the human brain to explain this since it would most likely be lost on the Guardian.
    You then ask commenters to not bash the coppers. Maybe you could be more precise in your criticism of how the call was handled. I understand the crashed car. But what else are you critical of. Crime occurred, suspects located, no shots fired, juveniles in custody. You should be complementing the officers for a fast and professional response.

    EDITOR NOTE–By “cold” we meant the little girl was no longer in danger. Paramedics for example would likely take fewer driving risks if they knew other responders were on scene.

  2. My experience in speaking with ADA dispatch about an urgent matter is that some of them are VERY POOR listeners and want to do all the talking. They have several blanks on their template to fill out and don’t seem to give a crap that while being interrogated by those template questions the caller may well forget the pertinent details which are only committed to short term memory. I STRONGLY URGE the Chief and Sheriff to review this experience from the point of view of a caller who is trying to momentarily recall a license plate number and vehicle description.

    I don’t think this was a cold call. They probably were still goofing around when stopped. I think this case is a major positive for the coppers but for the wreck. Don’t forget this town has had it’s share of crazies who want to have a shootout with the coppers.

    As for driving too fast… it happens all the time, it is dangerous, they know it and don’t care because they probably won’t get spanked.

    As for potentially shooting the person with the BB gun… that happens all the time too. Go look at one of those things at a store (very realistic)… you might shoot them too if pointed at you with hostile intent.

    PS: To anyone who calls 911. When you hangup from a cell phone call… they can still hear you. You must turn the phone off and back on, then make an additional call to another number to shake them.

  3. A lot of people seem to be indicating a BB gun is not dangerous. Just yesterday there was a news story about a young child being killed by a BB gun. A quick google search brings up numerous examples of kids or adults being seriously injured or killed by a bb gun.

    Also, with all the recent school shootings why would the police take the age of the suspects into account? A juvenile with a gun is just as dangerous as an adult.

    Just one example…


  4. “First do no harm”. Applies to physicians -should apply to police and the political class. I’ve seen some pretty aggressive driving by the police from time to time. I’m not saying that should never happen – but given the nature of crime in our area- it doesn’t need to happen often. They can rush – but do so without unduly risking the safety of others. Should be policy.

    Last question: where are the parents of these kids, and how stupid can you be? Lucky they are alive.

  5. We are still in active combat in afghanistan
    Oct 30, 2013, 8:57 pm

    So. Has the usual shell game taken place AGAIN? Has the infamous BPD sgt of YOUTUBE fame been quietly promoted to LT or even more silently transferred to some place harmless…….like property crimes? This is YOUR police department. If actions like this are acceptable then why waste your time on any other police issue. It really didn’t get any worse than what was recorded that night………….

  6. Zippo you bring up a very good point about dispatchers. Not enough listening and too much talking back.
    Dave brings up a very good point about it being classified as a personnel matter…. this in itself is scary.

    I really do not mean to bash anyone but is it not obvious to all that LE needs more unbiased supervision at all levels?

    An ex-cop ombudsman is not going to give the unbiased oversight needed to make citizens safer.

  7. I was hit by an officer in a squad car once. He was driving too fast and didn’t make the turn and slammed right into the side of my truck(saved me, in a small I would have been seriously injured). He was in a hurry and late for a court appearance.

  8. Since the Guardian does not want to enforce its own rules about blanket bashing of coppers as demonstrated by Zippo’s link posted November 3rd, I thought I would post this link to balance out the non-discussion.


  9. nada nada nada
    Nov 5, 2013, 6:14 pm

    I don’t believe he was necessarily cop bashing…even if he was that is the most ridiculous situation I have ever read about…at least up to this point. Time will tell.

  10. Smeg…. not sure how the 2 stories equate… 1 guy doing his job and tragically being killed evens out over 5 dozen blatantly ignoring rules. All I can say to that is thanks for showing the ludicrous bias on the part of the cops can do no wrong crowd…

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