Faux weapons, actual hazard: Airsoft assault lands Youngsville teenagers in custody, police chief says | Crime/Police
Four children in a Youngsville neighborhood were picked up by police Monday evening after shooting neighbors with airsoft guns, according to the city’s police chief.
Rickey Boudreaux said his police department received complaints a few days prior about a group of children using the toy pellet guns to shoot unarmed children in the city’s Sugar Ridge neighborhood. Boudreaux increased patrol in the neighborhood, and officers were able to respond immediately when the next complaint came in on Monday evening.
“We don’t think there was any intent to harm anyone,” Boudreaux said. “They were just having mischievous fun.”
Police took the airsoft guns into evidence and released the children to their parents. The orange tip that normally indicates a gun is a toy had been painted black on one.
“This was a very realistic looking gun,” Boudreaux said. “That kind of sparked us to say we need to cut all this out.”
The middle- and high-school-aged children who were issued a warning on Monday allegedly shot multiple, unarmed people in the neighborhood. In one instance, they allegedly “trapped a kid and started unloading” on the younger child.
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Boudreaux said the victims weren’t interested in pressing charges, but he warned that such actions could lead to serious consequences.
“Have a talk with your kids,” Boudreaux said. “Even if they’re involved in a game, it can be considered a criminal offense if you shoot somebody with a gun like that. It’s aggravated battery. These airsoft guns sting when you’re hit with them. I’d hate to see these kids get in trouble.”
The Youngsville Police Department occasionally gets calls from concerned citizens about a child or teen with a gun, Boudreaux said.
Often times, the guns are just toys, but responding officers don’t know that when they arrive on scene to investigate — especially if the orange tip has been painted black.
“Some kid that thinks he’s having fun is going to get seriously hurt because someone thinks it’s a real gun,” Boudreaux said. “I thought it was better to educate right now rather than make arrests. Part of our job is to educate the public. I’m a big proponent of that.”