Would a pink pellet gun have avoided a Glassell Park tragedy?

Which of these is a BB gun? See below for answer.

On a Thursday evening last December, a 13-year-old boy and two other friends were playing with pellet guns near the 3000 block of Verdugo Road in Glassell Park when an LAPD squad car stopped nearby. The 13-year-old, who was hiding behind a van on the dark street, was ordered to surrender. Instead, he flashed his pellet gun, which resembled a Beretta 92F. The officer opened fire, hitting the boy, who was left paralyzed by the shooting.  On Tuesday, in response to that shooting and at the request of the LAPD, a state senate committee voted in favor of a bill that would require all pellet and BB guns to manufactured in bright colors so they would not be confused with more powerful firearms, according to an L.A. Now story. Existing law already requires that toy guns be painted bright colors. Under Senate Bill 798, introduced by Sen. Kevin De Leon, makers of “BB devices” and pellet guns would also be required to use bright colors:

A device where the entire exterior surface of the device is white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern, as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms, or where the entire device is constructed of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device’s complete contents, as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Answer: The BB gun is at the bottom of the photo; the gun at the top is a 9mm Beretta. Photo courtesy 22nd Senate District


  1. So where’s the bill to teach cops not to be trigger happy?

  2. Judgement from the parents and from the officer there should be someone telling a child I’m not gonna buy you that realistic looking pellet gun I’m a parent and there’s no way I’m buying my child a pellet gun to play with how about a trompo or a balero but a gun come on and it’s sad to say our LAPD just needs a justified shooting I’m more afraid of them than the cholos in my neighborhood

  3. Couldn’t criminals then just paint their real guns pink and have a sneaky advantage on the draw with police?

  4. To Hooligan, and EL:
    Before you guys jump to conclusions, lord only knows why you would wanna do that. Lets ask ourselves why this child was in possession of a “realistic looking BB gun” Let’s ask the parents why this child had a “BB GUN” to begin with? It is very sad that due to the lack of parenting, his parents had, this child will most likely be paralyzed for life. (insert sad face here) I have lived here since I was a teen. I will say: I had the cops called on me for playing with a BB gun, and turns out, They are Illegal in CITY LIMITS.

  5. C:
    That would be pretty interesting to see: 4 Cholos showing off there Purple and Pink High Powered Weapons. LOLOL what a site to see

  6. I’m with C: If they outlaw realistic-looking pellet guns, only outlaws will have unrealistic-looking real guns.

  7. @annon:

    Part of the problem is the violent culture that has been created where violence and simulated violence is an accepted form of entertainment and playing. Yes, the children’s parents should have been more aware of what their children were playing with and more cautious as to what “toys” to buy them.

    But as someone who has spoken to the families of the child shot and the other children involved, and as someone who followed the case and heard the cops change their story several times I still believe there is a definite need for not only LAPD but law enforcement in general to review, and possibly revise, their procedures when it comes to opening fire at someone, especially one who has not even fired a shot at them first.

  8. I don’t think this is the cops fault, it lies with the parents and the child, its illegal to discharge a bb gun in city limits and if people don’t have the common sense to brandish something that looks like a gun in front of a police officer just think of the failure of a life they will have later in life.

  9. Back when I was young,
    I owed a bb gun, a .45 replica.
    Also owned a BB rifle, a full scale replica of an M-1 rifle.

    You don’t need a law to required pink toy guns, you need a law that requires better trained, less trigger happy cops.
    Watts, Rodney King, Rampart, nothing with the LAPD has changed.
    They still act like a bunch of trigger happy storm troopers.

  10. Kinda not good judgment of the parents to let there kids run out with bb guns in the street , that said this is a real tragedy that could have been avoided , sad.

  11. In most sane countries you can have as many realistic looking toy/bb guns as you like. However neither citizens or the police can easily obtain real guns. I mean are toy guns the problem here? For real?

    And if we have to make something bright pink, why not make it the real guns. It would certainly make them easier to detect ad safety for hunters. Why not start with the cops. Lets make the carry around bright pink/orange guns.

  12. How about teaching your children to obey the Police?

  13. When are we the public going to start realizing that the police work for us. We should not have to be afraid of them, they should be afraid of us. I grew up in Northeast Los Angeles, in the 90s and late 80s it was known that you had two people to fear; the gangs and the police. If citizens began to take charge of the situation and not exhibit their fear to police but show their superiority then I think things would change. The best thing about the L.A. riots was that over the next few years the police began to take into consideration the public’s response to their actions. I think this has been lost. Not that I support another riot but I think something needs to happen to remind “authority” that we are not working for them, they are working for us.

  14. its the cops not the kids

  15. It’s a sad set of circumstances. I know plenty of kids from a variety of cultural backgrounds who have BB guns and are raised around guns. We’re a gun culture, like it or not. (I don’t like it.) But it’s really sad when a kid gets shot and paralyzed that a community not take a step back and say, “that’s tragic.” Instead, they blame parents, cops, the victim. That too is something I find tragic as well.

  16. When told by the Police to surrender and you don’t what do you expect them to do?

  17. Ken are you dumb? we are talking about a 13 year old boy. Have you ever told a kid to surrender lol does a 13 year old even know what surrender would mean? Dont be stupid. If i was the cop and i was really worried about a little boy shooting me knowing i have a bullet proof vest on i woulda took one in the chest instead of ruing a childs life.

  18. No, painting that gun a different color would not have made a difference. You can actually purchase guns in different colors, real ones, that shoot real bullets. For example, I personally own both a pink pistol and a camo colored pistol. Both 9mm and made in those colors by the manufacturer. It is not for the cop to decide, “wait, is that a real gun or not?” that is seconds wasted that could cost an officer his lift. Besides, the kid was 13, the legal age to have one of these weapons is 18. And it should have been treated like an actual weapon, not playing with it in the street. If the kid did have it out in the street, he probably had intent on pretending it was real anyway. The kid got what he had coming to him. Sorry, no sympathy here. A gun is always a gun- whether it is real or not and should be treated as such.

  19. Kevin, please read the article before you make such baseless comments. The news only says he’s a 13 year old kid. The 13 year old was 5’7″, 200lbs in dark clothing. Take a trip around East LA, and you’ll see many 30+ year olds that look the same. Even a 12 year old would understand what it would mean to surrender when the cops walk up to you. Turning quickly with a gun in your hand is ASKING to be shot. The cops are not trigger happy, kid killers. I would have done the same thing if the same kid, looking as he did and wielding what he had, drew a weapon toward me. My and my partner’s life comes first, sorry.

  20. Some dumb kid pointed and airsoft gun at a police officer and got shot, what a surprise… If I palmed by cellphone or a piece of garden pipeing like a gun and gestured to an officer I would get shot, are they gonna paint all cellphones and garden pipe bright orange???

    Painting the guns won’t make kids smarter….

    These are not toys and should not be treated as such, there will be far more accidents if they are viewed as toys!!!!

    This was the fault of the individual.

     I know this is shitty for young people, but they should be what they are and maybe have an “18yrs of age or older” stipulation…


  21. Wow, we have some real geniuses here…
    Some of you don’t seem to understand AT ALL!
    This is the fault of TWO INDEVIDUALS!! not “cops”, not “Kids”!!!! WE DONT HAVE ENOUGH INFO TO JUDGE! IF the kid pointed ANYTHING at a cop, i would say he did something very very dumb!!! BUT, if I saw something pointed at me I WOULD TRIP OUT unless I’m on the field… But again, not enough info to judge… Maybe the cop had no place to run for cover and thinking he would get shot pulled his weapon… Maybe the cop was overzelous… Maybe the kid thought the cop was one of the friends playing… In any case, no matter what kinda cop… Smart, calm, collected cop or trigger happy bully with badge, if a 13yr old was playin with it in his yard or field and not on city streets this would never have happened! The cop may be a good guy or bad guy… But what the kids did was just dumb… And anyone who argues this has the same maturity level!
    Race cars are meant for race tracks, not the freeway, paintball and airsoft guns are meant for the paintball/AIRSOFT fields…. If the kid was playing there he would only have been shot by more pellets!!! FAULT IS OF THE INDEVIDUAL!!!

  22. The problem of this post is it refers what was used as a “pellet” gun. It’s not a pellet gun… It’s an airsoft gun which fires plastic bb’s( slightly larger than a regular metal bb gun’s bb) I believe the officer had enough evidence to shoot the child because if your stupid enough to point anything at a cop you deserve to be shot. Also they were playing in the street( in public or in the public view to my knowledge is illegal) and they were playing at night which makes it even more dangerous. I am against SB798 because it really doesn’t shed light to the real problem… idiots who don’t know how to treat Airsoft replicas. It doesn’t shoot bullets but you should give it the respect of a real firearm simple as that.

  23. I have mixed feelings for this issue. The kid should not have been dumb enough to point the gun at the cop, and the cop should realise, its a 13 year old kid. He’s not gonna have a real firearm. Also, what EVERYONE but the senators has figured out, criminals could just paint their guns bright colors.

  24. I were the cop i would have done the same thing. 1. Its dark I don’t know if it is real. 2. bullets kill. The bill should be stopped and the airsofting community should take more precautions.

  25. Yea! first well ban airsoft guns, then to make things safer lets not allow anyone to own firearms. In fact, why not just take away all of our rights! then no one will be in danger.

  26. Raped and left for dead

    I personally think the idea of making a BB gun pink or any other color is stupid and won’t really solve a problem and in fact might create an opportunity for some thug to paint his real gun pink etc. The fact is you don’t point a gun at a policeman and not expect return fire, even if the gun is pink. You also probably don’t let your children run around the streets with a BB gun, even if it’s pink.
    Common sense used to be the rule, now it’s unenforceable laws and more silly unenforceable laws.

    Fact is, don’t wave anything at a cop.

  27. okay, fist off they are Airsoft guns, not pellet guns. A pellet gun can shoot at ver 1200 fps, thats enough to to kill someone. For example, a real .22 caliber gun, shoot at around 1400 fps ( Feet Per Second ). An Airsoft gun averages from the range of 200-450 ( there are stronger ones, but this is the most common fps. A bb gun is a small copper ball, and there are some guns that will shoot this bb at around 700fps, enough to penetrate soft tissue, and can cause death. If the kids were shooting at eachother, it was most likely airsoft guns. If the kids had taken off the orange tip ( by law they shoudnt have ) the cop wouldnt have shot at the kid. Dont blame the cop, blame the parents.

  28. These “pellet guns” (actually airsoft guns) shouldn’t to be marketed to anyone under 18. The quick fix would to be what the U.K. does with teens who play airsoft, either buy a two-toned gun or make them buy a lisence.

  29. I live in Arkansas and about 6 months ago a guy was shot 3 times in the chest because a cop called out to him and the guy turned around and was holding a black cellphone sideways.and was pointing it at the cop. let’s be real here guys…if u were the cop…and you had to make a split second decision, them or me, who would you pick?

  30. I don’t think that there is any real blame here. It was just an unfortunate and very tragic incident. Should the kid been playing with his”toy” inpublic at night? No,but it really isn’t surprising that a child is doing something he shouldn’t be doing, because that is what most kids do. Should the cop have just open fire like that? No, because from my understanding cops are trained for situations like that due to the fact that there are people who try for suicide by cop. But the police officer is after all just human

  31. Let’s ban toy guns but protect the rights of the people with real ones. Great logic.

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