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Fort Carson family outraged after 10-year-old arrested for pointing toy guns at vehicle

022720 10-year-old arrested

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The parents of a 10-year-old boy are speaking publically for the first time about their son being arrested and charged with a felony after pointing a toy gun at a car.

Stefanie and Lt. Col. Chris Carpenter say last summer their son Gavin was playing with his friend in a neighborhood near Constitution and Powers in Colorado Springs. One had a toy bow, the other had a toy shotgun with an orange tip.

“Neither one of the toys had any sort of projectile,” said the boy's father. The parents say their son and his friend were pointing the guns at cars as they drove by when one driver stopped and went to confront the boys.

Gavin and his friend ran inside the friend's house when the driver confronted the grandparents. The driver yelled at the grandfather saying the kids were shooting a BB gun at them, which the Carpenters say wasn't true.

The driver then called 911; three El Paso County Sheriff's deputies responded and arrested both boys for menacing.

Stefanie says when Gavin heard the man say he was calling the police he was relieved thinking they would resolve the issue. "He thought, 'great now the cops are coming this will all calm down they will take him away and it will be over with.'”

The Carpenters say their son was taken to the Colorado Springs Police Department, where his mugshot was taken and he was charged with a class five felony.

"I couldn't believe they were following through with this," Stefanie tells us, "I was waiting for the call from the cops saying that they were going to let this go, warn them, tell them it was wrong."

The parents immediately hired an attorney and asked that the charges be dropped because the boys were ten but they tell us the District Attorney's office refused.

For the past year, Gavin and his parents have been working on getting the felony expunged. After hours of community service and other tasks, the felony was expunged from his record.

His parents say what their son did was wrong but they didn't think it was necessary for him to be arrested and charged.

“He definitely admits that he pointed that weapon at cars, multiple cars, and he understands that’s wrong,” Chris Carpenter says.

They wish the deputies just gave their son a very strong warning about the dangers of pointing what looks to be weapons at people.

"Why couldn’t this have been a learning lesson?" Stefanie says, "like a warning like this can cause you to get arrested why did they take it as far as they did?” 

The Carpenters say their son is now scarred from this experience. They tell us anytime he sees a sheriff's deputy or police cruiser he freezes and gets scared.

“He was talking about wanting to leave Colorado and I said, ‘well Gavin you understand they’re police officers everywhere we go,’ and he said, ‘yeah but I’ll never see that car again,'” Chris says.

It's something they wish they could help with, but they hope with time, he will be better.

Author Profile Photo

Chase Golightly



    1. Two words:

      Tamir Rice.

      These parents should be counting their lucky stars. Or maybe, just maybe, this was handled properly?

  1. Don’t be to quick to blame the police. The police officer probably had the intentions of giving a stern talk to the boy. I think the “victim” in the crime demanded justice and the police officer had to make the arrest.

  2. The parents should be embarrassed that they didn’t teach their son proper gun safety! Bet the kid never points a gun at anyone else.

    Police Officers did an outstanding job!

  3. Ok so here I go again this is an opinion to see things from the other side.
    The fact that the kids thought it was Ok to point their guns at cars knowing they were looking for a reaction shows that their parents and grandparents did not talk with them about how that is inappropriate and not something to joke about. Just think if a driver was spooked and made a reaction to dodge what they though was a gun and hit another car or ran off the road. That is serious. So the potential of great harm was there. I think the police did the right thing.
    Getting a felony as a kid is nothing that affects the rest of your life especially if it is expunged. The kid needed to learn the lesson that you don’t go do something like that. There can be very serious consequences and high potential to hurt others.
    Saying the kids is now damaged/scarred and fears police is only a sympathy tactic. He will now think twice before doing something that could be illegal. The sad part is if the parents would of taken the time to teach him and talk about gun safety then this wouldn’t of happened. If the grandparents wouldn’t of just let the kids run unsupervised then they could of caught it before it was a big deal.
    So I have no sympathy for what happened.

    1. I guess this could apply to real raypist, merderers, anyone who commits a crime with a real g un. Right?

      Mom and dad just did not sit down and give them The Talk about raype and merder.
      If they did then they just went out and did it anyways.

      1. Teaching right and wrong in all circumstances is the responsibility of the parents. Too many feel they will hurt their child by saying no or not giving them something they want knowing it has the potential of being extremely harmful to them. Example…. phone with unrestricted access to the internet. A 13 year old just took off with an older guy she met on a dating app. Thank God she was found ok.

    2. One parent was a Lt Col in the USA Army. He knew better and should have taught his child so. ESPECIALLY by the ago of 10.

  4. We all get mad when our children get consequences for doing stuff that feels minor but turns out it is not. If you look back at too many of the school shootings, the shooters are getting younger. The first shooter was a young girl, 16, who sat in her bedroom window across the street from the school back in the 70’s. And since, they seem to be getting younger. The driver may have overreacted once he confronted the boys. Will give you that. This young man is afraid of cops because of the arrest. Maybe the driver had been hit in the past by a young person shooting BB guns at cars. It has happened. I am now teaching my great granddaughter she never points any weapon she can play with at people or pets. This means the stick that she will pretend is a gun. This means the bow and arrow toy that I know she will receive. This means that knife that she got with her kitchen set that is too small to be threatening and bends if she tries to cut a piece of bread. She is two. She will know by the time she is ten that she is responsible for her actions and that even some toys can be mistaken for weapons.

    1. Thank you for being a responsible parent. Our community would be better off if there were more like you.

  5. You have a Lt. Cols. son that pointed a gun (toy or not at a moving car). If this happened at a school this wouldn’t even be a topic. The parent’s FAILED. A Lt. Col. should know that if you point a gun it’s with the intention of killing/harming. The fact that he and his wife failed to teach their child by the age of 10 is a FAILURE on their part. Kudo’s to the local police for doing their job. I’m more than certain that if it was the Lt. Cols. son that had a gun pointed at him he’d be screaming at the top of his wife’s lungs. I’d like to know what the Army is going to do to this Lt Cols failure to parent correctly.

  6. 1. The boy is lucky he didn’t get shot.
    2. The boy likely will have it dismissed if he takes a Hunter Safety Course, or something similar. The courts do such things in order to teach the child something the parents failed to do.
    3. Nobody would have known about this had the mom not alerted all media of her objection…
    4. Now, mom produced all kinds of negative “Google Hits” on both her and her son’s name, which will hinder his future more than this incident that otherwise would have been kept in anonymity.

  7. The real problem was the clear luck of civil rights education on behalf of the parents. After the kids were confronted by the driver, they retreated to their home, and that’s when the police arrived and was able to make an arrest. Why the police was allowed into the home? Did they have a warrant? Then, it was just driver’s word against the kids’, which wouldn’t be enough for the arrest, not to mention the charge. The only way this happened is because the kids obviously “cooperated” and confessed in what they did, and that’s what became the basis for the charge. Sadly, this aspect, such as awareness of the 5th Amendment, is not even being discussed. The parents should be concerned not about the shattered trust in law enforcement, but about their children being unaware of their rights. If anything, his story should had become a teaching moment for the rest of their lives, and if anything, they should have learned that the police is not their friend, and any “cooperation” with the government means digging their own grave.

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