By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
This photo at the Merriam Police Department shows how similar an airsoft gun looks to a real one.
MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -
It was a close call in Merriam on Thursday after a cop, who thought he was facing an active shooter, actually had his gun pointed at a kid.
About 8:19 a.m., police said they got a report of a van pulling up to a home in the area of Robinhood Lane, just off Shawnee Mission Parkway. Neighbors said three people in full camouflage carrying rifles jumped out and ran to the back yard. But police said an officer noticing a minor detail helped avert a deadly shooting.
Police said a concerned neighbor called 911 in the morning, worried about several people in tactical gear with what looked like real rifles running through the yard.
Master Police Officer Corey Heron and a colleague were the first on the scene. They entered the yard looking for the gunmen, turned a corner and heard something behind them.
"One of the subjects shouldered a rifle and pointed it in our direction," Heron said.
Heron's training kicked in. He raised his own weapon, ready to defend himself.
"I had pressure on the trigger," he said.
Heron said he was 60 yards away and the threat looked legitimate until he noticed one minor detail - a small orange strip on the barrel of the person's weapon.
"If there's a threat, we are trained to eliminate the threat. It's pure luck, I saw orange," he said.
Turns out the people dressed in camo were just a bunch of teenagers and the rifles they were holding were airsoft guns that shoot plastic pellets.
One website describes them as, "replica firearms used in airsoft that fire plastic pellets by way of compressed gas or electric and/or spring-driven pistons." It goes on to say that, "these guns are designed to be non-lethal and to provide realistic replicas."
Scott Thompson owns the home the boys were playing at and he said they're all friends with his son and all involved in Reserve Officers' Training Course or ROTC.
Thompson said they were training for an airsoft competition. He thinks police and neighbors overreacted and saw nothing wrong with what they were doing.
"The kids like it. I'd rather them play here then have them driving out on the street doing their stuff," Thompson said.
Even though Heron was in full gear, clearly marked as police, the kid who pointed his airsoft gun at him later said he thought he was on the opposing team.
Heron has some advice for the 15-year-old.
"In general, guns are guns. I've taught my kids, airsoft guns, bb guns or my own rifle, don't point at anything you don't want to destroy," he said.
Police won't file any charges and they said the boy will soon get his airsoft gun back.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:04:40 GMT
MISSOURI CITY, TX (KPRC/CNN) - When a pregnant teacher in Texas collapsed, her coworkers rushed to help. The woman technically died, gave birth, and then was brought back to life. Erica Nigrelli, an EnglishMore >
A pregnant woman's heart stopped, and doctors performed an emergency c-section to rescue the baby and save the woman.More >
By Michael Martinez, CNN updated 3:23 PM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013STORY HIGHLIGHTSTerimy Miller puts her three small sons in the house closet as the tornado nearsBut she gets a feeling: "I just got toMore >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:13 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:13:31 GMT
Residents of a southern Overland Park neighborhood had feared a vicious killer was on the loose after a jogger was found dead, but his death has been ruled a suicide.Raheel Morani, 24, slashed his ownMore >
Residents of a southern Overland Park neighborhood had feared a vicious killer was on the loose after a jogger was found dead, but his death has been ruled a suicide.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
(RNN) - Dozens of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life. Charles Ramsey, the guy who famously stopped eating his Big MacMore >
More than a dozen of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:09 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:09:22 GMT
It has been a difficult and long road to recovery for an 11-year-old victim of a hit-and-run. The girl's mother is making another plea to that driver to turn herself in. No one needs any medical trainingMore >
It has been a difficult and long road to recovery for an 11-year-old victim of a hit-and-run. The girl's mother is making another plea to the driver responsible to turn herself in.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-20 23:51:52 GMT
DONIPHAN, AR (KAIT) – A search effort is underway in Southeast Missouri. The Hartland Pit Stop in Doniphan apparently sold a $1 million Powerball ticket this past weekend, but the winner has yet to comeMore >
A Southeast Missouri woman wrapped up a big week by taking home a piece of the record $600 million Powerball jackpot. More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:43:24 GMT
Fallen officer's daughter graduates from kindergarten
Hundreds of Phoenix police officers showed their support for a fallen colleague by attending his daughter's kindergarten graduation in Anthem on Wednesday. Officer Daryl Raetz was killed in the lineMore >
Tatum Raetz, 5, graduated from kindergarten in Anthem Wednesday and hundreds of uniformed Phoenix police officers were there to show their support for the family.More >