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.