Youth with BB gun resembling firearm shot by police in East Baltimore

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A Baltimore police detective shot a boy in East Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon who he wrongly believed was carrying a semiautomatic pistol, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

The boy suffered what police called non-life-threatening injuries to a “lower extremity,” Davis said. The weapon turned out to be spring-air-powered BB gun — not a real firearm.

The boy’s mother identified him as 14-year-old Dedric Colvin, an eighth-grader at City Springs Middle School. Volanda Young said her son was shot once in the shoulder and once in the leg.

The incident came on the day city officials marked the one-year anniversary of the Freddie Gray riots.

Davis said two plainclothes detectives assigned to the Police Department’s intelligence section were driving in the 1100 block of E. Baltimore St. shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday when they spotted the boy with what appeared to be a firearm.

The detectives got out of their vehicle, identified themselves as officers and told him to stop, Davis said. The boy began running, the officers gave chase for about 150 yards, and one detective shot the boy, Davis said.

Young said she was home Wednesday afternoon when an older son came banging on the front door.

“Ma,” Alvin Colvin said. “The police shot Dedric.”

Young said she ran outside to find the boy bleeding in a side street near a basketball court.

“All I could see was blood,” she said. “I was screaming.”

Police did not release the boy’s name. They said he was 13.

They did release a photograph of the gun they said he was carrying. It appeared to show a Daisy brand PowerLine Model 340 spring-air pistol.


BB gun

Baltimore Police released this photograph of the gun they said a teenage boy in Baltimore was carrying when he was shot by police — Daisy brand PowerLine Model 340 spring-air pistol.

After decades in law enforcement, Davis said, he might have mistaken it for a firearm.

“I looked at it myself today, I stood right over top of it, I put my own eyes on it,” he said. “It’s an absolute, identical replica semiautomatic pistol. Those police officers had no way of knowing that it was not, in fact, an actual firearm. It looks like a firearm.”

Blood was visible outside the McKim Community Center and basketball courts Wednesday evening near the intersection of Aisquith and East Baltimore streets.

The detectives were not injured, Davis said. Police did not release their names.

Dedric was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Young said she pleaded with police: “Is my son alive?”

She said she was leaving to call the hospital when officers handcuffed her and put her in a police car.

“It was humiliating,” she said.

She said she was taken to a police station and asked questions. At one point, she said, she was put in a cell. She said officers told her she was being belligerent.

After two hours, she estimated, she was driven to the hospital: “I begged them to take me.”

She spoke in her home Wednesday evening. A medal that Dedric earned in the Baltimore Urban Debate League hangs on a trophy in the living room.

“He gets good grades. My son is a good kid,” Young said. “I know he was scared. They shot at him while he was fleeing.”

She said she didn’t know where he got the BB gun.

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