Vargas: "The last thing I ever want to do is shoot an 11-year-old" officer says, confronting boy with replica handgun

By Joe Vargas

On October 13, 2018, Columbus, Ohio police officer Peter Casuccio and his friend responded to a call of two kids walking down the street with a handgun.

Casuccio encountered the kids at the scene, and one boy reached into his waistband and removed a handgun.

In the fractions of a second as Casuccio drew his own firearm, he watched the 11-year-old boy drop the gun onto the ground, where it fell apart.

The gun was in fact a replica plastic toy. Knowing how dangerous the young man’s actions had been, Casuccio lectured the boy and his friend.

The Columbus Police Department released the video this week on its Facebook page as part of an attempt to educate the public about the dangers of children and replica firearms.

I know some of you are thinking, “But the officer should have seen they were just kids!” I would like to say we live in a world where children never have access to firearms. But that would not be true.

In one case, an Anaheim police officer was driving down the road when he came across your typical after-school fight. He stopped and was pulling the boys apart when one of the boys pulled a handgun from his waistband with the intent to shoot both the officer and the young man he was fighting. The officer was able to quickly disarm the boy and take him into custody.

That gun was very real.

The boy was just 12 years old and had taken the handgun from his home. Kids can be dangerous, especially when they have a gun.

In the Ohio case, the young man was lectured about the dangers of his actions and his parents were also advised.

“Regardless of what people say, we care,” Casuccio told the boy’s mother. “The last thing I ever want to do is shoot an 11-year-old.”

Joe is a retired captain. He can be reached at jvargas@behindthebadgeoc.com.