Police warn that orange tips no longer mean "toy gun"
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A call about a man with a rifle reveals a scary reality for both police and children.
That emergency call came from inside a local elementary school.
Another caller described a rifle with an orange tip, which are common markings of a toy gun, but maybe not?
Gone are the days when a boy with a toy gun was just using his imagination. Take for instance a photo of Local 12 Deb Dixon’s son, that shows a young boy who grew up playing as a cowboy and also a soldier.
To help police tell the good guys from the bad guys, manufacturers started painting orange tips on the toy guns. That used to be enough, but today’s reality played out in front of North Avondale Montessori on Monday.
Police were on the scene after reports of a man with a gun.
“It's a toy gun, with an orange tip. I picked it out of the trash,” said
"So, that orange tip doesn't mean anything to us. We're going to assume it's a real gun. People paint tips orange to try and fool us,” said Cincinnati Police Officer Keith Fangman.
For example, on one such gun, the orange tip and Nintendo suggests that it is a toy gun, but the bullets it shoots are very real.
There are Facebook videos explaining what the paint job is all about.
"A Facebook video wanted to paint tip to make it look toy because ‘I want to fool a cop and shoot a cop’,” said Fraternal Order of Police President dan Hils. "If you get a situation with an inexperienced officer and dyou got an orange tip… next thing you know, the officer is dead.”
That’s the same with a kid on the street. Hils confronted a 15-year-old walking down the street. He kept pointing the gun. When Hils stopped him, he started to pull it out of his back pocket.
"It was a pellet gun that looked like a large automatic handgun. It was a life and death situation, the closest I came in 30 years to using deadly force,” said Hils.
The teen found the pellet gun and said he was acting out a movie.
"This ain't the 70's where you could walk the streets with a toy gun like we did when we were kids. Sad what this world is coming to,” said Officer Fangman.
The man stopped with the orange-tipped rifle made sure no one would make the same mistake. He smashed it in two.
“I didn't mean no harm,” the man said.
The good old days are gone for now, but least we have photos to remember them by.
The man who was stopped with the gun was not charged with anything.