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Teen is lucky that Merriam police realize his gun is a toy

Updated: 2013-03-22T01:55:06Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

Practicing assault-style tactics almost had deadly consequences for three teenage boys Thursday when they were confronted by Merriam police officers armed with rifles.

A caller notified police that three people wearing camouflage clothing and armed with rifles had jumped out of a van about 8:20 a.m. at a house in the 6300 block of Robinhood Lane.

The gunmen then ran around to the back of the house, the caller said.

Police responded to check the area for the suspicious activity. As officers rounded the corner of the house, they were confronted by two people carrying rifles, said Lt. Mike Daniels, a Merriam police spokesman.

One pointed his gun in the direction of the police. However, an officer noticed a small amount of orange paint on the barrel, identifying it as a toy, and told the teen to drop the gun.

The teen dropped the weapon and was taken into custody. He will not be charged.

When officers picked up the rifle, they discovered it was an Airsoft gun. The teens said they were practicing tactics for a game later Thursday.

The 15-year-old boy who pointed the rifle at the officer told police he thought the officers were the other team for the game, Daniels said.

Parents need to know that these type of toys look exactly like real guns, Daniels said.

“Parents need to limit their use to paintball courses or other places that are used exactly for that purpose,” Daniels warned. “Running around the neighborhood isn’t one of those places.”

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at cronkb.

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