RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - It was a close call for two teens on New Year’s Day, following an encounter with a Ridgeland police officer.
The entire incident was captured on dash-cam video from the Ridgeland police officer’s car as he patrolled a popular shopping mall on County Line Road.
The officer stopped the two teens who were believed to be armed. It turns out they were and once they were confronted, one teen aimed his BB gun at the officer.
“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 Neal. "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 officers mind. ‘Do I need to take deadly force now?’”
Thankfully, the officer did not fire shots.
The boys were detained and later released to their parents and grandparents, one of whom was highly upset at the kids' actions.
“These are split second decisions. This is something that happened within one to two seconds -- that all these things are being processed,” said Chief Neal.
Chief Neal showed how similar a BB gun looks to his service weapon.
If you’re wondering, the real gun is on the left.
In a dark parking lot, the officer had to decide -- in the blink of an eye -- whether there was a threat.
“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.
Chief Neal said his officers are trained to fire their weapon when another weapon is pointed at them. He added that more parents need to know where their kids are and what they’re doing.
An incident report was made of the event, which will be on file in youth court should the teens get into trouble again.
Chief Neal said he hopes they learned their lesson -- that pointing a gun at a police officer is a dangerous move.