A Newark, N.J., 10-year-old was left in tears after he was chased down an alley by officers who had their guns drawn after they allegedly mistook him for a suspect in an armed robbery, WABC reports.
"Some police started coming this way with guns pointed at me, and then I ran into the backyard," Legend Preston, a shy fifth-grader who loves math, told the news station.
According to the report, Legend was playing basketball shortly before the incident when the ball rolled into the street. The 10-year-old dashed after the ball, only to find himself being chased by the officers. Legend told the news station that he thought the cops were chasing him because he ran into the street without looking.
"I ran because they thought that I rolled the ball into the street on purpose, and they were just holding shotguns at me trying to shoot me," he said.
Newark police acknowledged that officers had their guns drawn, but denied that they pointed them at Legend while in the alley.
Witnesses at the scene intervened, according to the report, telling the cops that their "suspect" was only a child.
"'Why are y'all chasing him? Y'all got guns out here drawn, y'all chasing him, he's only a kid.' I'm like, 'That's messed up,’” one witness, Jackie Kelly, said.
Legend's mom, Patisha Preston, was in the house when the incident unfolded, and she is all too aware that her son's interaction with police could have ended differently. Patisha Preston uploaded a video to her Facebook page showing the distraught 10-year-old in tears after the terrifying encounter, which occurred earlier this month.
"My son is in counselling [sic] even scared to go play because it happened right at our house.. You despicable cops have no care for our childten [sic].. My fun loving child is forever changed!!!" she wrote, in part, under the video.
"They did have the guns pointed directly at him as they assumed he fits the description," Preston told the news station.
Police eventually caught up with the real suspect, 20-year-old Casey Joseph Robinson, after the incident. Robinson was charged with armed robbery.
According to WABC, police say that internal affairs is investigating Legend's case.
Read more at WABC.