Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert, Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police have charged three boys — two teens and one preteen — for pulling a BB gun on a North Philadelphia street.
It happened last week on Monday, near 16th and Allegheny (see related story). The video released by police went viral. In it, a 10-year-old is seen pointing a gun at a woman in a crosswalk.
He gives the gun — which the suspects called a toy, but which police now describe as a BB gun — to one of two older boys who points it at a group of teens and then at a man on North 16th Street.
By Thursday, police say the 10 and 13-year-old suspects turned themselves in with their parents. On Friday police questioned the third suspect.
Investigators initially became aware have the situation after a 27-year-old called police.
Eyewitness News spoke with the marine who said one of the boys pointed that handgun at him as he was going from his car to his house.
When he got inside he called police and then he grabbed his semiautomatic handgun, a glock 39, and went back outside to see if the teen he thought had a real gun was still out there.
The 10-year-old is facing charges stemming from the initial incident. The two other boys — ages 13 and 14 — are charged in all three.
The boys are facing charges of criminal conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime, disorderly conduct, and related offenses.
The marine says that he is glad the juveniles were charged and he realized that those children could have been seriously hurt if he pulled the trigger on his real gun in self-defense.
Mike McGovern, a former homicide prosecutor who is now a defense attorney, says that prosecutors have a lot of discretion whether to charge or not in such cases, adding that it depends on whether or not there is criminal intent.
“The consideration is, are we looking at it from the vantage point of the gun-holder or the BB-gun holder? Or are we looking at it from the vantage point of the person who is looking down the barrel?”
McGovern says that for anyone over seven years old, if the prosecutor thinks the person on the wrong end of the barrel feels threatened, then it warrants charges.
The juveniles have another court appearance in Family Court on May 9th.