Excessive Force? Feedback Friday

My blogger friend, Constant Complainer, occasionally sends me news stories to get a woman's perspective from my blog readers. Here is one such story about an 8th grade student gunned down by police after he pulled out a realistic looking pellet gun in school.

The story, from MSNBC, can be read in it's entirety here. To summarize, the student walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose then pulled out this pellet gun:

The police received a call about an armed student, they responded, the student refused to drop the weapon, and they used deadly force to bring him down. The police fired three shots, two of which hit the student in the chest and the back of the head.

The police feel they were justified to use deadly force in this situation and the parents feel that this was excessive and that a shot to "bring him down" would have been more appropriate.

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you feel that deadly force was justified in this case?

Do you think that because of the student's age the police should have fired a shot to simply bring him down?

Do your feelings change if you think of the boy as a student in your child's school vs. if the boy was your own child?


  1. I believe the police were absolutely justified, especially if you think about what could have happened otherwise. If that had been a real gun, or if the student had injured or killed another student, then everyone would be in an uproar that the police HADN'T done something to bring him down. Better safe than sorry. Age has nothing to do with it - with what appeared to be a real weapon, the police are correct in thinking that he has the same amount of power to kill as a 25, 50, or 80 year old. At the end of the day, the student is the one who was breaking the law and refusing to drop the weapon - he only has rights so far as they don't infringe upon the rights of another. In this case, the rights of the other innocent students were violated and they had to be protected. And maybe it's my attorney-brain...but I think I would feel the same way even if it was my own child. Even though it was only a pellet gun, the police had no way of knowing that at the time and took the appropriate measures (statutorily based and backed by law, I might add) to protect themselves and the other students.

  2. I teach middle school in the 11th poorest white district in the US...First and foremost is to protect all students - and I imagine that was the policemen's first priority.

    No student should have any weapon - real or one that resemble a real one.

    Some students at this age are the size and have the strength of a grown man.

    Parents need to teach their children to accept ALL consequences of their behavior - and although this is traumatic for any parent - why didn't the parent know he had this in his possession? Were they awake and out of bed to make breakfast and kiss him good bye? Did they check his book bag to make sure all of his homework was in it? Were they at the last parent/teacher conferences? Were they aware of any personal struggles their son might have had?

    Very sad, however, bottom line, he should not have had the simulated weapon in his possession!

  3. Ugh this is sad on so many levels.
    Unfortunately this childs stupid desicion cost him his life. My brother in law was shot in the face last year executing a warrant as a police officer. They don't have the opportunity to wait. In the middle of a school with many other potential victims they were forced to do what they had to do.I also have an eigth grader.

  4. Justified.

    Even in the safest of cities they would have been justified, but Brownsville is almost a war zone. If you don't believe me then go google border violence. It has gotten very bad, and a lot of the cartels are recruiting kids just this age to do their dirty work. It is horrible.

    When those police officers walked in that school they knew they were dealing with one thing, a kid in a school with a hand gun. Period. They told him to put the weapon down and he didn't. I'm sure none of them are sleeping easier at night knowing they shot a 15 year old kid with a pellet gun and are probably second guessing themselves. We should be supporting them, not questioning them.

    What I would really like to know is the rest of the story. Why this seemingly great kid felt it necessary to walk into class, punch a kid in the face, and then pull a gun on him. I think there is so much more to this story, and I'm betting it isn't the cops to blame for what happened to this kid, but most likely what his fellow classmates had been doing to him.

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  6. Totally justified! I agree with all of the above statements.

    Pellet guns may not be "deadly" but here's a quick story. My very successful arcitect (sp) Uncle was mowing his lawn. Some kids next door were shooting their pellet guns. One of the pellets bounced off s metal post and landed in my Uncle's temple; blinding him. It didn't kill him but he lost his American Indian Cheif statis, income and home. He never blamed the kids but he recently died a very poor man. At least financially.

    Geez Louise parents!! Wake up!!

  7. Justified. I agree with what everyone else had said.

  8. They absolutely were justified. It does not matter what age the person is when they are yielding a gun. That automatically makes them a threat. Pellet guns are not toys they can do as much harm as a 22 caliber bullet. We have a pellet hand gun and treat it as though it holds bullets. It is put away unloaded and out of reach.

    I think the real story is what caused this 15 year old boy to bring the gun to school, punch another person and not obey the police. That is three really bad decisions he made in the course of a few hours.

    Also, the actions of his parents after his death do not seem to be normal to me.

  9. It is very sad, but justified. It sounds like suicide by police to me. The article says the ordeal lasted 20 minutes, so maybe he just wanted to die.

  10. I work in a high school with at risk students. I feel the actions of the police were justified.
    I know all to well how quickly a situation can turn & protecting the lives of the many others in that building was their 1st priority.
    We were recently put on lockdown due to an arrest being made just a mile from our building. The police contacted our principal & told him the situation & asked that the building be locked & no one be allowed to leave until the situation they were dealing with was under control.
    Some thought this was extreme because it was not in our actual building or on our property, but I was glad that our safety & well being were given such priority & no chances were taken.
    So many parents have no idea what goes on with their child at school or even at home ---- it makes me wonder how much these parents knew of their son's true behavior?

  11. Being the wife of a retired Houston Police Detective and current Fed agent...I agree with the above 'justified' opinions.

    Plain and simple....sad, but plain and simple.

    Janet xox

  12. A mother has lost her son. And that? Is an unbearable thought. But, I agree that it was justified. Several mothers could have lost children that day. A kid pulls a gun in a school...any force necessary to remove the threat has to happen. It's unbelievably sad and frustrating that he didn't drop the gun. The police did what they had to do to protect and serve.

  13. Sounds like suicide by police, I feel bad for the officers that had to shoot him. I don't know what happened to that poor boy, what led him to making those choices. He was 12...12, wow, I was still a kid at 12.

  14. While the outcome was tragic, I think the police were completely justified in their actions. Waiting or taking a different course of action could have had much worse consequences. Sometimes the hardest/worst choice is the best one.


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