The unidentified teen, who is expected to survive his wounds, ran when approached by two undercover police officers wearing plainclothes and driving an unmarked police car, the authorities said.
The boy was seen in the area of Aisquith and Baltimore streets with what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol in his hand, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told reporters. The weapon was found to be a fake after the boy was shot shortly after 4 p.m.
“It is a dead-on ringer, semi-automatic pistol that resembles a Beretta handgun,” Davis said. “Those police officers had no way of knowing that it was not, in fact, an actual firearm. It looks like a firearm.”
Only one of the two officers opened fire on the teen, who was reportedly shot in the “lower extremities,” Davis said.
The boy’s mother knew her son had left the house with what she described to police as a “BB gun,” Davis said. She’s been taken into custody for questioning.
Davis was unsure of what officers said, if anything, before gunfire erupted in southeast Baltimore.
“So when he ran, and the footchase was a good 150 or so yards, and rounded a corner, kept running, he had every opportunity to drop the gun,” Davis said. “He had every opportunity to stop, put his hands in the air, comply with the instructions of the police officers. I don’t what’s going through a 13 year old’s mind. I don’t know why he decided to put a gun in his hand and leave his house. I wish he didn’t. I’m sure his mom wishes he didn’t. But the Baltimore Police Department is tasked with identifying people who pose a threat to this community.”
The city has seen a spate of gun violence, including murders, in the last 48 hours or so, Davis said.
“Our police officers are doing exactly what we ask them to do,” he said.
Police later released an image of the replica lying on the pavement. The officers involved will give statements about the shooting.
“I have no reason to believe that these officers acted inappropriately whatsoever at this moment,” Davis said. “They got out of their car and engaged a person that appeared to have a gun in his hand. That’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what cops do.”
The shooting came on the one-year anniversary of the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. After the funeral, a violent, fiery riot broke out in the city.
And in Cleveland, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead in November 2014 by police in a city park where the boy was holding a replica handgun. (Courtesy New York Daily News)