A 13-year-old boy was shot Wednesday afternoon by two Baltimore police officers who believed that the toy gun the child was carrying was real, according to WJZ. The boy's injuries are reportedly not life-threatening. The incident happened in Southeast Baltimore around 4 p.m. EDT near a local community center.
According to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, the child ran after police officers identified themselves, forcing them to open fire.
In a press conference, Davis called the toy a "dead-on ringer" for a Beretta 92FS, which the gun's website describes as "the world's most trusted military and police pistol," and placed the blame for the shooting squarely on the child's mother. "If it's a BB gun, projectiles can be fired from a BB gun," Davis said. "We see people who arm themselves with replica handguns for the purpose of committing crimes with that replica handgun. It happens all the time in Baltimore; it happens elsewhere as well.
"I can't speak as to what was going through that young man's mind," he continued. "I've got two 13-year-old twins at home, and I'm trying to imagine my two 13-year-olds at home leaving my house with a replica semi-automatic pistol in their hand.
"The mom knew that her son left their house with a replica semi-automatic pistol in his hand," Davis added. "I can't wrap my head around that right now."
People are questioning the victim's mother.
Today's shooting comes on the one-year anniversary of Freddie Gray's funeral. Gray, 25, died in a trauma center April 19, 2015, one week after suffering extensive injuries to his neck and spine while in police custody. After Gray's funeral April 27, 2015, protests that became known as the #BaltimoreUprising occurred across the city. Alleged police agitation of peaceful protesters led to hundreds of arrests, and the image of a CVS burning to the ground played on a mainstream-media loop.
To commemorate those events, city officials, state leaders and community organizers declared Wednesday a Day of Reconciliation.
"I just felt compelled to be here today because I was here a year ago; more importantly, stood on the corner every day of the unrest. And my message never changed about it, how this city needed to be more inclusive and how we didn't condone violence in any way, but we knew that there were problems that this city was facing and we could work on them together," said state Sen. Catherine Pugh, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Baltimore.
Pugh has not yet issued a statement on today's shooting, which also comes on the heels of the city of Cleveland settling with the family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for $6 million. As previously reported by The Root, on Nov. 22, 2014, then-Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir after allegedly mistaking the toy gun he was playing with at a playground for a real one. Tamir died the next day from his injuries.