A Mississippi teenager's new year almost came to an end shortly after it started after he decided it would be a great idea to pull a bb gun on a police officer in a mall parking lot. But unlike pretty much every other story that starts with, "Person pulls gun on an officer..." this situation came to a peaceful, albeit momentarily tense, conclusion.
Instead of ending up in jail, or worse, this teenager brought in the new year with a slap on the wrist - and some minor embarrassment.
This story comes to us from NBC affiliate WLBT 3, who reported earlier this month that two teenagers were stopped by a Ridgeland, MS police officer who noticed the two teenagers walking through a mall parking lot on the night of January 1. The officer believed the boys were armed, and his suspicions were confirmed when he attempted to talk to the two teenagers. As soon as he stopped the vehicle and climbed out, one of the boys pulled what appeared to be a pistol and pointed it in the officer's direction.
"All it would take is that kid making some kind of movement towards the officer in some type of threatening manner," said Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal in an interview with WLBT 3. "Had he raised the gun up or had he stepped towards the officer any more, that could have been the deciding factor in the matrix of that officer's mind: 'Do I need to take deadly force now?'"
Somehow, someway, the officer did not shoot at the teenager, and the situation was quickly resolved, as seen in the video below:
As the video shows, the teenager quickly drops his weapon as soon as the officer appears to point his own gun in the boy's direction.
"These are split-second decisions," Chief Neal said. "This is something that happened within one to two seconds -- that all these things are being processed."
To further illustrate the decision making of his officer, Neal held the bb gun next to a 9mm pistol, demonstrating that the two weapons are almost identical, especially in a dark parking lot under non-optimal lighting.
The side by side comparison can be seen below:
The teenagers won't be facing any legal repercussions from the ordeal outside of an incident report that will be on file with the juvenile court if they find themselves in trouble again, but that doesn't necessarily mean they got off scot-free with their parents.
As the boy who pulled the gun was still in handcuffs, the police video shows what appears to be his father charging and hitting the boy for his actions.
Overall, the teenager and his friend are both extremely lucky to have walked away from the ordeal with only a bruised ego and not in the back of the police cruiser, or worse, in a body bag.
Chief Neal hopes the boy learned a lesson from this and spends the rest of his life knowing how extremely lucky he was that the officer didn't take a shot.
"This kid needs to be waking up every morning thanking the good Lord above that this officer was who he was and perceived him for who the kid was," said Chief Neal.
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