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Caught on camera: Utah officer nearly shoots teens armed with fake guns

Dramatic body cam footage shows a West Valley City, Utah police officer threatening to shoot two teens if they didn’t surrender their guns, which turned out to be fake.

KSL News obtained body cam footage of police officers responding to multiple calls on Sept. 11 about two suspects seen with firearms at a local elementary school. When officers arrived at the scene, they spotted one male suspect hiding behind a brick pillar.

“Show your hands now,” yelled Sgt. Christensen, a veteran with the police force and the officer who is seen wearing the body cam.

“Drop it, drop it,” he continues to shout to the suspects as he spots one male with what looks to be a gun.

The footage then shows the second suspect emerge with a weapon in his hands as well.

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Caught on camera: Utah officer nearly shoots teens armed with fake guns - image

“Stick your hands in the air. You’re going to get yourself shot if you don’t stop.”

The teens, only identified as two 15-year-old boys, come out from their hiding places and surrender to police. The teens did not attend the school where the incident took place.

Caught on camera: Utah officer nearly shoots teens armed with fake guns - image

West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said it’s hard for police officers to tell the difference between real and fake guns, especially at night and from a far.

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“We released this footage because we want to start a conversation and show what officers had to deal with and how real these guns can be perceived,” Russo told Global News. “If we get calls about a gun being spotted, we’re going to respond as if it’s real.”

Caught on camera: Utah officer nearly shoots teens armed with fake guns - image

Russo also said parents need to have a talk to their children about owning lifelike replicas of such dangerous weapons.

“We also hear these dialogues of ‘Not my child, my child would never do that, my child knows right and wrong,” he said. “It’s not that the child is bad – good children make bad decisions. We just don’t want a bad decision to become a life-altering one or [their] last decision.”

The two boys were arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon on school property, unlawful acts on a school property and unlawful use of a projectile weapon. Both teens were released to their parents the same night.

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This is not the first time West Valley City police had to deal with fake gun incidents.

Russo said they’ve received complaints of people shooting blanks at pedestrians while driving past them, residents have had car windows shot out with pellet guns and one person even robbed a convenience store with a fake gun.

“[We] don’t want this to be the last toy your child every plays with,” said Russo.

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