Middle School boys stopped by police under suspicion of firearms

We are asking the HPD for an official statement about this incident.

Sara Christiansen, the principal of Chatham Park, sent out a robocall message at 4:18 pm today. Here are some facts: at approximately 3:30 pm many police officers, canine units and inspectors converged on a group of male Haverford Middle School students based on a citizen tip that one of the youths was carrying a weapon. The children were horse playing at some point between the Middle School and Chatham, and the citizen saw what looked to be a gun.

It has been confirmed that the weapon was a “toy” (as Ms. Christiansen put it in her message). According to Christiansen, 3 of the youths were taken into custody (they were transported to the police station but they were not under arrest at any time). Ms. Christiansen said at no time were the people or children at Chatham Park in danger. Will keep updates on the site.

The toy in question was a popular, realistic and scary-looking spring gun like this:


From a distance, the handgun can look like it is made from a light chrome metal, lending the appearance of a real gun. If one is unfamiliar with firearms and toy firearms with bright plastic tips, it is understandable how one can confuse the toy with a lethal weapon.

As far as we know, these toys are banned from school premises. We’ll keep you updated on this aspect or if the toy guns are banned in this township. Please contact us via our Facebook page or our Contact page here if you have any further questions or statements.

UPDATE: April 2, 2014: Havertownies.com spoke with Officer Shant Bedrossian. The order of events seems to mostly jibe with Ms. Christiansen’s account. Here are some more details:

Citizen from an undisclosed location in Haverford Township spotted a boy with a weapon and tipped off police. Going on description of the boys and general last reported direction, officers stopped the boys at Chatham Park Elementary school. When questioned about the gun, thespring mechanism boys at first denied any knowledge of it. An initial search of the boys’ persons showed no guns or toy guns. Upon further questioning, the boy produced the toy weapon from a hidden place nearby where he had stashed the gun. Confirming the gun was a toy (Spring-released, plastic pellet, “airsoft” rifle [NOT a CO2-powered toy], described by the officers on the scene as “clear with an orange tip”), other students on the scene were released. The toy gun owner along with his two younger relatives were transported to the police station, where they were reprimanded and then given over to relatives’ custody. No further action by the police is expected at this time.

spring loaded clear

These photos are not the gun in question but assumed similar models.

Again, HPD have confirmed that the three boys that were transported from Chatham to police headquarters were not at any time under arrest. The boys are thought to be related, perhaps brothers, but only one had the toy gun in his possession. The police contacted the relatives of the boys to come to police HQ to retrieve them, which the relatives did. The boys are not facing any charges at this time. They were given stern warnings and sent home.