Can you tell the difference?

Alisha Morrissey
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Officer confronts teen carrying toy gun; took appropriate action, RNC says

Police say anyone would have had a tough time determining whether this toy gun was the real thing.

But that's what one officer had to do from 120 feet, after two calls came into police headquarters, describing a man with a gun in the area of Torbay Road Monday evening.

Photo at left, Const. Roy Normore (left), holding a Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun, and Const. Mike Summers, holding an imitation weapon, approach a news conference in front of RNC headquarters Tuesday. The demonstration was held following an incident Mon

Police say anyone would have had a tough time determining whether this toy gun was the real thing.

But that's what one officer had to do from 120 feet, after two calls came into police headquarters, describing a man with a gun in the area of Torbay Road Monday evening.

Two officers prove the difficulty of the task, while standing side by side and holding a real Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun and the plastic gun taken from the scene Monday evening.

Justin Ryan, an 18-year-old developmentally delayed boy, was playing with the toy gun when the officer approached him with his gun drawn, says his mother Catherine, who says the whole family was shaken by the incident.

"I was here in the house and my next-door neighbour came in and she said, 'You better come out quick. The cops got Justin,'" she says.

Ryan says when she got outdoors her son was on his knees with his hands behind his back.

"I lost it. I said, 'What are you doing? What's on the go?' and I couldn't ... I was just frantic," Ryan says.

"Biggest thing is ... if there had've been nobody around we would have gotten one call saying Justin is dead or he's in jail."

Justin is at the intellectual level of a six- or seven-year-old boy.

"I can't let him go across to the store himself because he's not streetwise," Ryan says.

She says Justin told the officer that the gun was his toy and that he couldn't have it.

She says that was when another boy came running up to the officer saying, "He's delayed, don't shoot him."

Ryan says her son bought the toy gun at a nearby dollar store.

She says it's fine that they couldn't tell that her son was delayed, but says police should have a better way to tell if a gun is a toy or real.

Constabulary spokesman Const. Paul Davis says the officer did exactly as he was trained to in this kind of situation.

"As our officers were responding they were being provided some of the information. ... An officer arrived in a parking lot and observed a person with what appeared to be a machine gun or similar to what's called a Heckler & Koch MP5," Davis says. "These officers know they're responding to a man with a gun."

Davis says despite reports that other children were playing in the area, the officer reported that he and Ryan were the only two in the area.

He says the officer described getting out of his patrol car and starting to repeat instructions to Ryan to drop the gun and back away from it. In fact, his commands can be heard on the 911 tapes Davis played for the media.

It was when the officer got close enough to kick the gun away that he realized that it was plastic.

"I'd suggest to you that looking at that quickly ... that it can be difficult for a police officer at 120 feet away to make a clear and definite conclusion as to what he's dealing with," Davis says, explaining that the officer said Ryan appeared to be a mature man carrying a gun.

"He has to deal with it as if it's real until he determines differently."

Davis says the officer then holstered his own gun and started talking with the boy's family and others who had made their way outside.

Ryan says the officer then said "'Listen here lady, you needs to calm down,' he said. 'A few minutes later and I was about to shoot him.'"

"It was a very charged situation and people were upset," Davis says, adding that the officer denies saying those things.

Davis says the officer did apologize to the family at the scene, but that no formal apology has been issued because the officer didn't do anything wrong.

"In our community today it's not unusual for you to hear police reports of instances that involve firearms guns and violence. We don't know where we're going, when it is, what time of day it doesn't matter. He was faced with what he was faced with, he acted appropriately and he dealt with it appropriately."

amorrissey@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Torbay Road

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Recent comments

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    RNC responded correctly. Case closed! Some people just try to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  • Crystal
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Here's a question, what happened to the bright orange tip that all toy guns are supposed to have? That is the most obvious way to tell if the gun was a toy or not, without it, the cop has no way of knowing.

    While I am not a big fan of the RNC, I will say that they did no wrong here, the parents should have had more sense then to let their child play with a realistic looking toy gun, if there is no orange tip, add duct tape or something else...

  • Lorne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Too many police officers have died from unloaded guns!!!Too many individuals have died because I didn't know the gun was loaded . This police officer should be commended for the way he handled the situation, not critized. This boy is very lucky...others , perhaps , would have not used the approach this officer did. We need more police officers like him.

  • JT
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    How could anyone possibly argue that a police officer should assume that an object that appears to be a real firearm is not in fact real? Do you expect a cop to walk up to the guy and ask him if he can have a look? Seriously?

    The fact that the fellow was developmentally delayed has no bearing on the scenario that played out -- except shifting the responsibility for his actions to the parents, who appear unready to assume any responsibility. I'm guessing that any limits to Justin's mental development haven't affected his physical growth, and since we don't all have E.S.P. we're incapable of automatically knowing that he's developmentally delayed, the public sees an adult-sized human being running around with what appears to be a firearm and reacts accordingly. What do you expect will happen? He's going to be treated the same as anyone else who does something like that.

    If the parents are so concerned about the welfare of their son, then don't do ridiculously stupid things like this and allow him to get into the situation he ended up in. He might have the intellectual level of a 6- or 7-year old, and his parents may treat him as such and probably even think of him as being that age, but to the general public who don't know him he's an 18-year old.

  • Ryan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    It was a misunderstanding, the officer acted accordingly, end of story.

  • Colin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Alright, just a few points some of you should consider: 1. The gun looks real, and a 1 inch colored tip isn't going to be so noticable from 100+ feet away. 2. It could have easily been real, since there are countless people in this city with illegal weapons, who, I'm sure don't follow weapon storage laws, making them easily accessible to children. 3. Developmentally delayed children/adults need to be supervised, whether that's a harsh reality-check for some of you or not, for their own safety as well others. 4. The police are assigned the unpleasant duty of protecting an unappreciative bunch of scoff-laws, which they do under an unimaginable amount of stress. The officer should have investigated? What do you think he was doing? 5. The MAN was NOT hurt, no thanks to the good people to whom his care is entrusted, hey, maybe buy him a gun from the other 80% of toy guns that DO look like toys. 6. Criminals can paint their guns too? I'd be willing to bet that most don't, but regardless it's a good indication of the authenticity of the weapon (plus, a young man brandishing a brightly colored gun wouldn't appear as threatening as a fully grown man toting the same gun). 7. The parents are upset about how it was handled? Maybe if they had taught their young man to comply to what police request of you, the officer wouldn't have had to approach him, weapon drawn. And let's not forget that none of this would have happened if they exercised smarter shopping practises. 8. The neighborhood doesn't matter a pinch, whether it happened on a dirt road around the Bay, Torbay Rd. or Masonic Park, I'm certain that in EVERY neighborhood in St. John's, there is a drug dealer, most of whom own illegal weapons. Those of you that like to think of Newfoundland as a haven from the crime and evil of the world are sadly disillusioned. Wake up, it ain't the old days anymore. 9. The police aren't targeting the differently-abled, they're targeting suspicious activity, and really, would you rather that they didn't? 10. I'm sure most of you criticizing the officer have never had a real gun pointed at you, try it and tell me that you would approach him to wager that it wasn't real. He acted more bravely and sensibly than most of you do in your day to day lives. This police officer should be commended for his courage and presence of mind, try that in L.A. and see what happens. Nobody was hurt, we know that the gun in question is one less gun we need to worry about, and the worst side of this incident is that the young man and his parents were upset, boo-hoo. Try and appreciate the positives of the outcome. And as for apologies? The family should apologise to the officer for turning an otherwise normal day into one where he felt he could be risking his life to save those who would obviously never return the favor.

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Seriously, why are people up in arms about this? I understand the cause with the autistic boy being arrested being controversial, but an officer responding to a call with a young man carrying what appeared to be a dangerous weapon?

    Obviously the boy understood that the officer meant business and yielded his weapon , when the officer realized it was just a toy he put his gun away and there was no violence whatsoever.

    The boy was not beaten, arrested, or treated in any manner to be considered unfair or unlawful. If anyone appears to have a weapon in a public area, the police would respond in the same way. The fact that the boy has a disability is irrelevant in this story. Here is how it should read.

    Police Called To Scene With Teen Yielding Toy Gun.
    No arrests made.

    End of story?

  • Cindy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I would not allow any of my children to play near the street with any type of toy that resembled a real weapon. It's just too dangerous in this society.
    You never know when someone will misinterpret the actions of another and then make an assumption...
    I would think, with this young man being autistic, the parents would have barriers in place to ensure his safety thus preventing this type of thing from happening in the first place.
    It is good to know he wasn't harmed and the police acted in a professional manner. All is well that ends well.

  • Greg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Lou from Vancouver yeah well that's a big city problem you people have - I know. I lived in TO/LA for 15 years and know all about it. It's the big city problems that affect all the rest of Canada negatively.

    Funny enough, these toy guns have been on the market for DECADES, why all of a sudden do we have this problem of police showing up and immediately drawing their pistols ? If it was an mp5, one cop and a pistol against an mp5 wouldn't have a chance against it's longer sight radius (longer barrel) and magazine capacity. Not only that, there would be about another dozen kids come out of the forest with 'mp5s'. Observation would have been more prudent for the RNC for his/her own safety if he/she really believed it was an mp5. Otherwise... not a chance...

    None of this was ever a problem here before. We don't have the extent of the problems found in big cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. As a matter of fact, any problems we do have are usually come-from-aways who come here doing no good. You see it all the time here in the paper - foreigners being caught.

    Heck, you can even be killed if you carry a stapler in Vancouver. I think all Vancouverites should be on a some sort of medication to keep them calm. And I'm NOT talking about the 'medication' you are famous for.

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    The RNC responded correctly to a 911 call about a man with a gun in a rough and tough neighbourhood. Personally, knowing this area, I wouldn't have gotten out of the car without backup and a dogman.

  • Ruby
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Most toy guns coming out now will have bright orange markings (either orange caps or painted on). Parents, do not remove these markings/caps.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    The mother has propositioned for a way for toy guns to be more recognizable.

    That's easy, all toy guns should not be made to look like real guns, for example, make all toy guns out of a bright plastic colour (green, yellow, etc.).

    Logic dictates that if the public had warned of a man with a gun walking in public, the polic handled the situation according to training.

    I don't see any issue here.

  • READ people!
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    To Nitrocellulose and Hilary... look at the other photo again, look where the 'red cap' is, and READ the caption. Now take your two hands an hold them both up in front of you with your pointer finger straight up and thumbs 90 degrees to that... which one makes an 'L' ? Quoted caption: The toy gun used in Monday's incident is on the left, while a real Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun is on the right. Photo submitted by the RNC

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I sympathise with the RNC. But please tell me the Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun held by the RNC guy is one that was confiscated by the RNC and not a Standard RNC issue. God help us. What happens when the weapon is held by a developmentally delayed RNC member?

  • violet
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I believe that the officer did the right thing, hey how was he supposed to know that it was a fake gun. Many officers have been shot due to Guns ..so i believe they did the right thing..I know the boy is mentally delayed( i have a child myself that is mentally delayed) and his mother was and is upset, noone wants anything to happen to their child whether they have anything wrong with them or not ..Now it is the mothers place to teach the boy that playing with guns is not a Good thing to do. She needs to explain that sometimes bad people have guns and that they can harm others and that the police did the right thing by demanding that he drop the gun ..IT WAS FOR EVERYONES SAFETY including the boys ...I KNOW EVERYONE WAS UPSET AND in disaray .but THE LAW IS THE LAW... lets not make the Police officers out to be bad people when they did what was taught them in an intense situation ..i mean they had calls saying a man was waving a gun around ...how was anyone supposed to know it was fake ..obviously the people calling in thought it was A REAL GUN, they obviously thought it was a serious situation that needed the polices attention ...HATS OFF TO THE RNC ON THIS ONE ...GOOD JOB GUYS.

  • Avalon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    An offer received two calls claiming there was an adult with a gun on Torbay Rd.

    The officer responded and found an 18 year-old on Torbay Road with what appeared to be a gun.

    The officer carefully approached the 18 year old with his own gun raised until he was able to verify it was a toy.

    Thank you, officer, for acting the way you did. Our police force has a tough job to do and it is not unfathomable to encounter a situation where a resident has a real gun and the potential to fire it. Everybody is safe and at the end of the day, that was the officers job.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Ev from NL and Steve from Mount Pearl, NL... what's to stop criminals from simply painting real guns bright orange or yellow with a can of spray paint ? Or kids from painting their toys black ? Have you thought of that ? Maybe you'll suggest banning paint.

    I think the binoculars idea is a GREAT idea. It sounds very Russian - simple, cheap, practical and effective.

    It would only require the typical RNC about 3 weeks of training ;)

    A much safer solution is to replace RNC sidearms with binoculars and call in the pros (RCMP) when an important job is to be done.

  • Stop the introduction of
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    To: ³ from NL

    Yes I have been out of NL and out of the country, matter of fact I am 7700 kms away from NL at this very moment, but if no country grows a Military Force there will be no large scale wars. That is all I need to say.

    Why do we need to fight other peoples wars, since when we do we cause more destruction and prolong matters even further? P

    Please do not forget Canada and the United States warred against each other at one point, and now we are as one, best friends, each others greatest trading partner. But why do matters have to come head to head with a full scale war? Matters can be negotiated, can't they.

    I think war is popuar with some nations because it aids and abets big business, especially the Ammunition Industry.

    Politicians in power over the centuries have become Billionaires from that business.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Nitrocellulose, binoculars? Are you kidding me?

    Quoting you,

    A much safer solution is to replace RNC sidearms with binoculars and call in the pros (RCMP) when an important job is to be done.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Okay, let me paint you a picture.....

    If were ever staring down the barrel of a gun being held by someone else, do you want the RNC to be looking through their binoculars from 150 yards away to confirm if it's a real gun or a toy or do you want them to take action and save your life?

    I can just picture it now, the RNC was late in taking in action to save the life of Nitrocellulose because they were busy looking through their binoculars! Get Real!

    You want to make a clear difference between toy guns and real guns, make toy guns look so completely rediculous and stupid that no one can mistake them for a real gun.

  • Jennifer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Yes. Lets ban children from playing with guns because they promote violence. Lets also ban Barbies because they promote an unrealistic body image. Lets ban toy cars because children crash them together and they promote unsafe driving skills. Lets ban television because a child might accidentally turn on something violent. Lets ban hot dogs because eating animals is cruel while we're at it!

    We can't shelter our children from the world. Our children are growing up in the same unsafe world we did (and still are). Parents shouldn't teach their children that all is good in the world, that life is rainbows and puppydogs, what are we preparing them for?

    We played with Barbies, we played with toy guns, we did it all, I like to think most of us turned out okay. As long as moderation is key and we teach our kids the simplicity of right from wrong we'll be fine.

    Why is this even an issue? I was a little girl playing cops and robbers with the boys 20 years ago, and I played with my Barbies too. I'm not anorexic, nor am I homicidal. Truthfully I'm afraid of guns, and I appreciate my love handles. Reason being: Mommy and Daddy taught me how the world really works, not this sugar coated happy land we want our children to think they live in.

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    We have the best police force in the country. They are not trigger happy and always use common sense despite their rough and tough job.
    We have to psychologically put ourselves in their boots , and it is certain that most of us would jump out of them very fast when we are faced with the reality of what is expected of our police.

    A salute to our men and women in the RNC.

    Frank Blackwood
    Richmond Hill, Ont.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    The last two incidents that occurred with the Police and Mentally Challenged kids makes me laugh when i see how the public reacts.
    Everyone is all sympathetic for the kids because they are mentally challenged, but for god sakes, nobody is blaming the parents? The autistic boy out at 11:00pm by himself walking down the street, what the hell is that? This young boy playing with a toy gun that looks real, with no supervision in sight.

    People, wake up. If the public keeps harping on the Police for doing their job, pretty soon they'll actually become gunshy, and that's when the sh!t will hit the fan! Who knows, maybe they wont' be as reactive in the future, when they are really needed.

    Suck it up, the Police are actually doing a good job. Don't make them hesitant just because parents are not being careful of what their own children are doing!

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Bob Clarke from Nl we don't live in Columbine (or the U.S. of War) and this didn't happen inside a school. Turn off your tv set for god's sake.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I recall there was a similar story on a national news station in the States about 10 years ago dealing with this exact same issue.

    Let's look at this another way...if this weapon was a real gun, and this teenager ended up 'accidentally' shooting someone - who would be complaining ? Probably the same people who DIDN'T call the police.

    The fact of the matter is this -- the RNC is trained to deal with situations like this in a professional manner, regardless of who is involved. It seems to me that people are missing the point here. A GUN is a GUN...and until the police are aware of the situation, they have to act accordingly.

  • mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    This story which thankfully ended well was handled appropriately by the RNC. I'm sure they are faced with many daily stressful situations but to come to a 911 call with a grown teenager holding what looked like a machine gun who would know if it was reality or not. We have far too many memorial services nation, world wide for victims of shootings @ schools, workplaces etc. The mother should be thanking the kid who alerted the police of her son being delayed because who would think this normal looking young man had the intellect of a 6 or 7 year old boy.

  • fintip
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Public reaction to this incident is starkly different from the Dane Spurrell case -as it should be. In the latter case, there was a clear error in judgement from the outset. That error was compounded by a lack of supervision by more experienced staff once the autistic young man reached the lockup. I'd like to hear the findings of that inquiry, but in the meantime it doesn't appear that there was any ill-intent or that the officers broke any laws. Despite this, Chief Browne acknowledged the seriousness of the mistake, apologized to the family, and pledged training to better equip officers to recognize and deal with the mentally challenged. The RNC handling of that situation is in sharp contrast to the disgraceful behaviour of the RCMP in the killing of Robert Dzienski. Most police officers in Canada, including the RCMP, are conscientious professionals. But almost everyone agrees there is a small percentage in every force that is a throwback to the cave man era. The difference is whether their behaviour is covered up or condoned by management (as it was in the Dzienski case). I believe Browne's handling of the Spurrell incident, while it didn't silence all the criticism, earned the RNC a degree of public respect. The point is that any police force, if it behaves in an open and honest manner, can bank credibility with the public and that credibility can serve it well when there is an incident of the type involving Justin Ryan. There will always be some who distrust cops. But the majority of us trust the RNC management enough that we are willing to accept the force's account of events, based on which we should commend the officer for his professional conduct. It doesn't mean we're unsympathetic to a family that is understandably upset by the incident - indeed there are far too many posters that are parent bashing or neighbor bashing. Stuff happens. There doesn't always need to be bad guy.

    The one contradiction that I did pick up on is the comment from Justice Minister Marshall who apparently said that officers have enough training in mental health issues. While it has little to do with this case, it is very much an issue in the Dane Spurrell incident. Chief Browne acknowledged as much publicly and undertook to improve training in that area. Let's hope Marshall's assessment doesn't diminish Browne's resolve to follow through with that training.

  • kim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    OMG!! I know the boy involved. I am disgusted in what I just read in the article. This situation could of been handled much better. The family involved are good people and have enough stress in their lives that is above the normal. My heart goes out to Justin.

  • Nancy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    the RNC done exactly what we would of wanted them to do if the gun wasn't real....why do they have to justify it so deeply. Good job!!!

  • Sheila
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I am not a great fan of the police on anyday and I feel that at least 2-3 years training should be had before they hit the streets and a bit of the schoolyard bully remains in far to many of them. As a result the criminals usually win far to often and the law abiding people suffer the results. But on this occasion I agree with the officer and I think the fact that he did not shoot put his life at risk. I do not know if I could have had the courage to advance on a man with a gun that had refused to put it down.

    The mother is responsible for her son and she needs to have the common sense to understand that people see an adult,in this case an adult with a gun.
    She should thank the officer for not shooting and then rethink her parenting methods for dealing with an adult with the mind of a child with her eye on the preceptions of society on a whole in regards her son. Safety first should rule all her decisions even in the choice of toys.

  • Reality Check
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    A professional reaction with the safety of the public being paramount. A perfectly executed response as it was resolved peacefully and no charges need be laid. I'm happy to know if I see someone walking down the street with a gun, the police will come when I call them. I also observe that a larger than proportionate number of eighteen year olds would find this 'cool', and the police encounter them regularly, maybe not with guns, but give em a bit of time...

  • JT
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    DeeBee, I don't know where in the province you are, but Torbay Road in St. John's is a very long road and the area in question is in a pretty busy part of the city. There's no reasonable basis for assuming that the people who called police were neighbours.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    No Steve from Mount Pearl, NL that's not what happened. No one was looking down the barrel of a gun. Causing more sensationalism are you ? This hysteria has to stop.

    Last fall just before Xmas I was driving down the street here in Mt. Pearl and drove by two men, one of which was carrying a very real hunting rifle over his shoulder. Complete with scope. He was not carrying it legally as it was supposed to be cased and a trigger lock should have been in place.

    But I'm a NLer and understood by their demeanor, paraphenalia, time of day and location this was no threat and just a couple of young (and ignorant of the laws - young fellas) going hunting. Or simply transporting the fiream (albeit illegally). I never freaked out and called the police - you would. Actually, I don't believe anyone did because they were gone after passing through the whole town and no sighting or news story of any incident despite 100's of vehicles having passed by them. Had this been in the east end with all the foreigners working in the oil field, they would have carried on like you, not understanding the history of our culture and heritage. Full of gun phobia. Do you have vehicular-weapon phobia too ?

    And to offset your foolish suggestion. Criminals can make their firearms look absolutely ridiculous as well, just to throw people off. Paint them bright colours and add silly things to them. Listen, anyone intent on doing something criminal is not likely to be found in a remote grassy field playing with other children. They would likely be clandestine and have purpose to achieve their 'goal'. Think about it (for once).

  • Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I believe without a doubt that the RNC handled this properly, however why would only one officer respond, do the RNC have a ETF squad to respond to these type of situations. If that had to be a real gun, it would come down between one Officer and one Man. And lost of innocent people. I believe that ever available officer should have responded to the call. What if there is someone out there that actually have a real gun with the intent on hurting somone, how is one officer going to handle it??

  • BRAVO FOR THE RNC!
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    RNC handle the situation well, how could they have known if the gun is real or not. They have to protect themself & the people regardless...
    There was a MAN with a GUN!!
    A GUN is a GUN!

    TO the RNC:
    -BRAVO !! For the job well done!
    -It was for everyone SAFETY!
    -The officer used his training to deal with situations like this in a professional manners!

    TO the PARENTS:
    -You both should be thanking the kid who alerted the police of your son being developmentally delayed.
    -If going OUTSIDE he should have been supervised.
    -Why would you let your ADULT son play with a gun that looks REAL...especially OUTDOOR!!
    -Remember TWO phone calls to 9-1-1
    -STOP blaming the RNC, the toy can be mistaken for a REAL GUN!!

    Sadly,I understand the family being upset but what happen if that was the other family, you could see it clearly...right.
    All toy guns that LOOKS REAL should be banned.

  • get over it
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    i guess that the proper way to have handled this incident would be for the police officer to walk up to the boy, sans drawn weapon, and politely ask him hey dude, it that a toy gun or a real one? . good for him if its a toy... very bad for him if its real. for this officer to approach this man without any backup, i think is brave in itself. when the police receive multiple calls saying that there is a man waving a gun, do you think that the dispatcher should tell the caller to stop, and go in and take a closer look to see if its a toy? get real.
    bravo to the RNC officer for the way he/she handled this. this man could have been severley injured or dead if the officer had not responded the way he did.
    on the same hand, and i hope to get some feedback on this point on the message board:
    if you rob a store with a toy gun, does that make you any less guilty??

  • Unsure
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I think they reacted in the right way.....A lot of ppl including mom is blaming the police but obviously the neighbours who complained didn't know it was a toy gun either.....If it hadn't been a toy gun and this poor boy had killed someone then what? The police would then have the blame once again....I think for mom lesson learned and for the police it is a no win situation......In my mind...Great Job!!

  • the real Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    'Police say anyone would have had a tough time determining whether this toy gun was the real thing.' - Telegram

    Well, the police aren't 'anyone', they are supposed to be trained professionals and able to identify toy guns with an obvious red tip on the end of the barrel.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=248453&sc=79

    Ask yourself this... how many times across Canada do police mistake toys for real guns and almost kill an innocent person ? I can't even recall reading one incident in all the online papers I read. Not one. Why is that ?

  • Charlotte
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Great job officers. You did what you were trained to do. It's good to know that you reacted the way you did. If that lady's son came face to face with an 18 year old male, waving a real gun around and threatening him I'm sure she would be thinking differently right now. I'm sure she would be pleased to know that the officers were doing everything they had to do, to make sure her son was being protected.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    On The Lighter Side

    Who's going to be the biggest focus of jokes at Rising Tides 2009 Year in Review?

    a. Eastern Health
    b. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
    c. Deputy Premier- Kathy Dunderdale
    d. All of the above

    Answer. D

    Act #1

    Minister Dunderdale takes sick and was immediately taken to the Health Science. After being diagnosed with the swine flu she was then mistakenly given chemotherapy treatment.
    Next the RNC were brought into investigate the matter and when Mrs. Dunderdale asks to speak to her lawyer. She calls, Bob Simmions, Mr. Simmions asks the RNC to put away their guns because Kathy he said, Kathy is no criminal, she will do what ever she is told. He then explained that he's got living proof of this. He further explains - Kathy being doing what ever she's being told since Mr. Williams became premier in 2003.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I don't think the police or the parents are at fault here. It seems more likely to me that it was a neighbour (or two) either with an axe to grind or just plain being an idiot and trying to make a big scene.

    Aside from that, if there was a legitimate concern on the part of a person in the area, if he couldn't figure out that it was a toy gun, how would you expect a police officer to do any better?

  • JH
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Firearms and other types of weapons (knives, granades, swords) should never be made as toys . Parents should not buy them or allow their children to have them. If the kids really want to play cops and robbers, they can use their thumb and pointer finger like we did as kids.

  • John W.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    To the RNC..
    A job well done. Amen.

  • Joelle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I find it ironic that the mother of the austistic kid who was unlawfully treated is forgiving but yet the mother of the gun-weilding kid is still blaming the police for wrong doing.

    I commend the RNC no injuries and a job well done all handled in a professional manner...

    While I am sympathetic to Justin......
    GET OVER IT MOM & DAD...concentrate on your son he obviously needs your support now.

  • dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    As a former law enforcement officer,I can see both sides to this event.I'm sure the mother was horrified to see her son like that,as I am sure that the officer involved was tense himself.good outcome,let it rest.Remember back in 2002 the armoured car event at the Village mall involving a teen boy and a toy gun.......I'll bet the officer does.Alittle common sense goes a long way people.

  • Driver
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Oh well,this case will cast the light away from the other RNC faux pas with the autistic guy. I'm sure that the kid ( and I say kid becuase he has the capacity of a 7 year old) in this case was known to the neighborhood (and possibly to the people who lodged the complaints). The guy is lucky to be alive.

  • Laura H
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    I agree with all of you who have in one way or another commended the police for acting as they did in this incident.

    Its ridiculous to think that this family is turning this to look like the fault of the police. In my opinion, such toys shouldn't exist and I do not see why a parent would allow a child to have a toy as realistic as shown in the provided photos.

    If the scene was different and someone had held up this young man with a toy gun; the parents would be describing to the media a horrific scene involving their son with a gun to their head and the obvious point that the gun wasn't real would be insignificant..

    Great to see most people supporting the police in this situation.

  • Craig
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Aren't all toy guns supposed to have yellow or orange tips so that they can be easily identified as such and not the real thing?????

  • Christine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    If the parents are saying that this mentally delayed man isn't streetwise then why was he not supevised while out playing with the area children.
    I think the police were in their rights, if this had to be in a larger Metro area in Canada, it would have ended different.
    I know if I had a dependant with mental disibilities they would not be unsupervised.

  • Lou
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    One thing no one seems to be addressing........why do kids need to play with guns in this day and age due to all the illegal use of them and certainly if that kid had been out here he would likely have been shot as he may have been mistaken for one of the many brazen gun toting gangsters. His mother needs a reality check to let her grown son with a 6 year mentality tote a gun around. A refresher in parenting 101! The officer deserves a big thumbs up for how he handled the situation.

  • Larry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Why do the RNC have a Heckler&Koch MP5 that they can take outside to a press conference. Why is that gun even in this province? And what other War Wepons do they have that can get in the wrong hands.?

  • BB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I agree the RNC responded correctly to the 911 call. Parents need to think twice about allowing their kids to play outside with toy guns. If they feel it's ok, then try buying blue or orange or yellow guns so people passing by can tell they are not real. Times have changed. Thank you officers for making the right call.

  • Hillary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    OK I can see the red tip on that toy gun in that other photo why didn't the RNC officer see it? Does there traning include recognising toy guns like this one with an obvious red tip on it?

  • Ed
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    kim from NL writes: OMG!! I know the boy involved. I am disgusted in what I just read in the article. This situation could of been handled much better. The family involved are good people and have enough stress in their lives that is above the normal. My heart goes out to Justin.
    Are you serious ? Are you aware that here in town that the pillars of Society are now carrying weapons to protect there illegal gains. Here was a man who too has a family, working s civil service job. more then likely has a family too. What if he assumed that it was a toy and it wasn't... we maybe have a funeral for this officer right now. Your bias is showing in your comments. Justin situation could have been worse. If he turned the gun on the officer, then that man would have NO OTHER CHOICE TO FIRE ON HIM. As it turned out he was just a little shaken up and is alive to enjoy the nice sunny weather today

    Great Job brave officer

  • Me
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Ok.. So because this child is mental delayed and after working with people in the same situation for a long time.. Never know if they really understand, so what would of happened if Justin didnt understand and walked towards the cop and the cop shoot him, and Justin died.. Would it be the cops or parents fault..

    I live in a area where i see cop's everyday many times a day and let me tell ya, some cop's some are good and some is bad, some cop's in RNC are worse the people selling drug's out there.. They think they are above the law.. They aint..

  • San
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    When I heard this story on the radio this morning, I thought to myself.. more reason to bash the police! I am so relieved that people see this as a good responce by the police. It was a good responce. I'm so glad that people are on the look out for such thing in their neighbourhoods. There WAS a MAN with a gun. To the parents of this MAN...how on earth could you let your ADULT son play with a gun that looks so real. As a mother, and in the world we live in today, I dont' think children should be playing with toy guns, especially when children in other countries have real ones.

    It's time for parents of mentally delayed children who have now entered adulthood, that even though you see their special needs, it's more difficult for the general public to see. There are so many different levels of mental disabilities. How on earth would anyone know. Like it or not, they are grown ups now.

    Thank you to the police dept. Thank you for protecting the area. Let this be a wake up call to all parents, if you're going to let your kids play with guns, don't by the ones that look so real. We have all heard of times when kids get their hands on real ones, and it could happen anywhere anytime.

    Look at the picture above, I can't tell the difference.

  • 2cents
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Why should the RNC apologize for handling a situation properly and in the way they were trained? Regardless if the young man has a mental disability or not the situation was handled properly. Why are the parents letting an 18 year old run around playing with small kids even if his mental capacity is their age? He could hurt them unwittingly by his size alone. He should have been supervised no question. All plastic toy guns should be banned they are too real looking. Only wooden ones for play like in the old days should be permitted for sale. You can't mistake them for the real deal at least.

  • Disgusted
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I agree, the cops once again followed proceedure and did their job. While I understand delayed or autistic humans need to be treated with respect and as responsible humans, if they are allowed out alone and unprotected they need to be able to be held in account of thier actions. Why was this child out alone wondering one of the most busy streets in the city? Once again, he ahs rights but needs care all the same!
    Parents, it is time to keep an eye on ALL children, and their toys! AND leave your pity me stories out of the media, way to make an a** of yourself!

  • Stop the introduction of
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I think we have all learned a lesson from this sad event, there shall be no more guns brought into our homes as toys for our children to play with.

    Yes, we have to stop introducing our children to toy guns, maybe that will even stop the agression of future wars?

    We must also stop the Military from entering our schools to introduce the New and Improved Big Guns and War Toys so as to encourage more recruits. War of all types must stop, so does the encouragement of our childen to join the Armed Forces.

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Question?

    The police receive calls claiming a man is waving a gun in a neighbourhood, and one officer responds????

    One officer, not a special squad? Man carrying gun and one officer responds?

    Then we have one officer with gun and one man with gun in the middle of a neighbourhood???

  • DeeBee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    To ½ wit - It probably wouldn't have happened around the bay for two reasons: 1. Police are a lot less plentiful. By the time the RCMP got to a community with a similar issue, the kid would have been called home for supper... and would probably be in bed. 2. Less chance of someone driving by who doesn't know everyone else in the community. Having said that, just because there are less people living in whatever community you live in compared to St. John's doesn't mean that there aren't incidents of violence. Lower population density means less likelihood of occurance, but doesn't rule it out completely. Donny Dooley: I know Torbay Road where this occurred... I wouldn't call it the roughest neighbourhood in the St. John's area by a long shot.

  • Ev
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    All toy guns should be made out of bright red or yellow material so no one would mistake it for the real thing. Black guns, real or toy, look the same from a distance.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I congratulate the officer who responded to the call for his professionalism and so should the child's parents.

  • Newf
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I dont see the part here where one police officer responded to a call of a man with a gun. It says that the officer seen the man and approached him, and a neighbour told the mans mother that the police had the guy and she better come out. I am glad that the story ended like it did. I would not let my 6 or 7 yr old play on the parking lots on Torbay Road alone. Nor would I buy them a toy gun!

  • Kelly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I never take part in commenting on this type of thing but with all the foolishness surrounding this story, I felt like I had to make my point...
    Although I understand the family being upset over what happened, I really feel like its time to get over it! Yes it is completely understandable for you to be upset but I fully believe that this was handled absolutely in the right manner..there was no Robocop with something to prove..there was an officer who used his training in the best possible manner. With the rising crime in this province, I don't believe it would be unimaginable for an adult to be seen in public with a weapon..the picture in the Telegram today demonstrates exactly how it would be hard to tell the difference in a toy gun as opposed to a real gun...I also believe that there is to much emphasis being put on the fact that this man is mentally challenged (simply because of recent events)..I'm sure that he will be just fine, yes understably upset but fine..lets remember that there was NO physical contact!!
    Lets move on now..

  • kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    maybe the govt. should go after the toy companies and have them paint all toy guns red, blue, green. anything but the same color of the real gun.it would make it easier for the police to identify.

  • DeeBee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Tough call! Fortunately, the teen didn't act in a threatening way or point the weapon at the officer or he could be in hospital this morning... or worse. What's really surprising, though, is that the kids he was playing with knew he was delayed and that it was a plastic weapon, but whoever (a neighbour, I assume) called police didn't have the sense to investigate further before doing so... I mean, the mother says she wouldn't let him go to the store by himself, but the neighbours didn't recognize him? Sounds a little fishy to me...

  • Earl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Also, in addition to my earlier comment, I'd like to add that one of the 911 calls was made by a motorist who had just driven by the area and saw what she described as a man with a rifle.

    She obviously didn't know it was a toy, and she certainly didn't know it was Justin Ryan. I commend her as well for being alert enough to notice such a thing.

  • Ken
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    To Donny Dooly. I grew up in that area of town and I can tell you first hand that it isn't a hard part of town. Do you know where Torbay Road is? It isn't like that long dirt road that runs through Downtown Dil-do!!

  • Nell
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    It seems as though many people, like myself, support the actions of the officer. I think everyone should step back, consider this situation being with someone who is not developmentally delayed and then re-assess where they stand. The officer did the right thing. Getting the gun out of the hands of the young man was the first priority. Those who say 'take more time to assess' should consider looking at this from the eyes of this officer. Safety first for all involved. I feel for the young man because I'm sure he was confused and frightened, however it seems that there is more being made of this situation than necessary. My question is for those who say this was not handled properly or this could have been handled differently or better . How would you have handled it? What would you do if you walked outside your home today and saw a stranger walking past with a gun? What would you do if you responded to this scene and saw a young man walking around with the gun, knowing that you were the one that was now responsible for the safety of him, you and all others in the area? What better way was there? I think the answer is clear. The officer should be commended and thanked.

  • Let's get real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    How did this kid get a 'look alike' machine gun? was it given to him by his parents? Of course the police took care of matters the appropriate way, and how would they know it was a fake? As the mom of a retired Police Officer here in Calif I understand the ramifications of a person holding any type of weapon. It scares the heck out of folks. And why should Police give an apology to the family, even a person with Austism has to be held accountable or his parents for that matter for brandishing a weapon. Just my humble opinion.
    From an ex-patriot Townie

  • ½ wit
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    25 - 30 years ago I regularly walked down the street to the woods with my BB gun on a regular basis, no one called the police. The police, in fact, just drove on by and waved, many times. No big deal. Today there is too much hysteria in the general public and a lack of common sense when it comes to seeing a group of kids playing with toy guns with red stoppers which shoots... nothing.

    Maybe the police can investigate the dollar stores to see if they are bringing in properly configured toy guns. If they are not properly configured toys guns, maybe the police can investigate why Canada Customs let these toys into the country. Did you know there are laws governing the entry of toy guns into Canada ? They must meet certain criterion so as to be identified as such. Maybe the police do not even know this.

    I hope the police and the public stay out of the woods here all year around because many people hunt various game all year around and we don't need hysterical police or public making something out of nothing.

    We have to start thinking about our OWN cultural standards and heritage and forget about the sensationalized images we see in Amexican news channels.

    This would NEVER happen around the bay, people have common sense.

  • family member
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I agree the RNC done there job and know they had to do there job when they got the 911 call.But whose to say those calls were just some one trying to stir up some trouble.That boy was well known in the area and its the first time ever there was any trouble there and it wasn't the first time for them to be out playing with there guns.For those people who are putting all the blame on the parents i guess you are perfect people rearing perfect children.Let me give a bit of advice to all who made there rude commends some day not saying when you may walk down the road they are in and and you may like for someone to say something nice and not be so mean and hurtful.There is a long road ahead my friends so stop and think before you jump on someone else.You are not hurting the family only yourself. We can live with having a disabled child can you if you were in our shoes.

  • RE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I wish people would take responsible for their children. The fact that this MAN is mentally challenged is irrelevant. Stop using these things as excuses for people's actions.

    You can't run around the streets with toy weapons, as an adult if I did that I would be arrested or even worse shot.

  • rhonda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Lets try and sum this up, a mother with a developmently challenged 18 yr old, allows him to purchase a replica firearm and wonders why police acted the way they did. Give your head a shake I'm surprised the police didn't shoot him, be thankful you live where you live otherwise this would have ended very differently.

  • Tony
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Well done RNC.

    There are several people in this discussion asking why only one officer was responding and not a special squad. Can you imagine the headlines the media would write then. 10 heavily armed RNC officers surround disabled 18 year with toy gun. Do you guys really think there is a squad of officers sitting in RNC headquarters waiting for these type of calls?

  • what
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    ½ wit from NL writes: 25 - 30 years ago I regularly walked down the street to the woods-------

    Completely agreed...As a kid cowboys and Indians was the rave. Like most kids I had a holster and TWO pistols cowboy hat, vest and a Winchester '94........Lots of time played in this game.....We have been lured into thinking every one with a toy is a potential murder.....Assessment and reaction has been tossed out the window by most.......Too bad ---- we need to check and reevaluate our expectations......

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I think the police officer involved did a terrfic job and should be commended for keeping his cool. If this happened in the USA that kid would be history.
    Good job RNC.

  • mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Just a thought, but anybody find it odd that only one officer was dispatched to a report of a man with a gun?

    I mean if you call for fire you get a few trucks and a dozens guys...would'nt you figure more than one officer should have been on scene for what looked like an automatic weapon?

  • david
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    RNC officers have not been carrying sidearms for very long, so what was the procedure in a case like this before they carried sidearms. I'm sure it was not for one officer to handle alone, and that a little more time would have been taken to assess the situation.

    As for the, can you tell the difference picture, if both men were the same size and were both wearing light colored clothes, then the difference would be much more noticeable.

    If this was procedure, the officer did his job perfectly, but if it was procedure then the procedures should be tweaked a little. Maybe retain a little of the old procedure used before sidearms were carried. Just a suggestion that may save a life in the future.

  • He Said
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Just like in Edmonton the other day. The car the Police attacked LOOKED like the one they were looking for. Looks are different from facts. Next time I think people need to take care to investigate EVERYTHING before jumping to conclusions. Both the people that called 911, as well as the response to the call. Too many nosy Nellies with far too much time on their hands. Maybe the person who called from the cell phone while driving by this event should receive the ticket as well as a ticket for a stupid call. But it is ok to break this or that law as long as you are not disabled and have a lawyer to call at all times. I recall a old T-Shirt Welcome to Kitchener Home of Police Brutality. Should get us a new one here, Welcome to St. Johns Newfoundland We Strive to Arrest or Shoot Our Disabled to Keep Them from Public Sight.

    Sooner or later things WILL get out of control then where will all these people be. I hope that the day comes when you are out for that Sunday drive with the wife and kids, and your car LOOKS like it is the one they are after and you are pulled out with gins in your face. Then when you try to explain to the police they are wrong, you find yourselves on the hot end of a taser and a good old fashion police beating just for going about your business. Yes it happens all the time.

  • m b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    With the way the world is today, I think that guns of any type, toy or not, should be banned. Children are influenced enough by the television shows and video games, and acting out what they see is not farfetched. I have two children of my own and by no means are guns, again, toy or real, allowed in my house or my children are not allowed to play with them. The only ones they can play with is a water gun which are big and brightly colored.

  • Sparkey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Hi All: First-of-all,I would like to say in what I have saw on News Reports ,the RNS did NOTHING WRONG! I lived in Ontario for 15yrs & if this kid would have been in the Jane & Finch area with a Toy-Gun,things would have been MUCH different!,& yes I know 'this is not Ontario',as alot of people will say when they read the top-part,but with the Armed Robberies,& drugs turning up,its getting-to-be,like Ontario.

  • Rick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Painting toy guns is not the answer, crooks could just paint their real guns bright orange to give them the split second they may require to win the gun fight

  • H
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I have no idea what this woman is upset about. Isn't it illegal to point a gun at someone even if the gun is fake? Why does her son have such a real-looking gun? In that photo above I can't tell which is real or fake, and if either were in the same vicinity as me, I would have been terrified. People are overreacting because of what happened with the arrest of an autistic man a couple of weeks ago.

    What the RNC officer here did was right, and I am glad to know that they handled it that way. Unfortunately due to the outburst of emotions here, I'm afraid officers may fear taking the correct action in the future, especially if members of the public are going to scrutinize them.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Crystal from NL writes: 'Here's a question, what happened to the bright orange tip that all toy guns are supposed to have? That is the most obvious way to tell if the gun was a toy or not, without it, the cop has no way of knowing.'

    Crystal... it's right here in plain view in this photo supplied by the RNC to the Telegram, as is required by law to help police officers identify toy guns.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=248453&sc=79

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Job well done RNC officer. Dunno why the RNC has to justify its actions.

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Unfortunately we do not live in the same world as we once did. The Columbine incident and all the rest that have followed have taught this to us. these parents should hold their son close and thank God that the officer involved showed the restraint that he did in not shooting. Learn something from it and teach your son how to react when confronted by police. I also feel that realistic guns should be banned totally. What a tragedy this could have been both for the family and the officer involved if things had turned out differently

  • Jacobsboy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I agree with what they did 100%!! Two calls from the public saying that a man was walking around the neighborhood with a gun. Officer arrives and finds a man walking around with a gun. Parents of this person have to realize that when the public looks at him, they see a man, not a child. He looks normal to me and I would not know any different unless I knew the person.

  • Earl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Who Justin is, his abilities/disabilities, who his family is, the fact they're good people... all irrelevant.

    The police have no way of knowing any of this when they arrive on a scene. Had the 911 caller said, There's a developmentally delayed boy out there with a toy gun the police wouldn't have shown up. But they were told there was an adult with a gun. They treated it like he was an adult with a gun.

    I think it's time for the parents to stop blaming the RNC for acting the way they did, and if they have a problem with the fact that his toy can be mistaken for a real weapon at a distance then they should paint it neon yellow.

  • Curt
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    My Hats off to this RNC Officer,I think he answered the call within the Scope of His Training,jsut put yourself in his situation,an 18 year old has a gun and two or three complaints were called in about this incident,We Lose way too many Police Officers in the line of Duty,across Canada every year,that leaves young Children and a Widow.I Give The Officer Nothing but Praise,the situation could have turned out Very Tragically,but Thanks to the RNC Officers Training and some Excellent Judgement Nobody got hurt or worst than that killed.I have Nothing but Praise for our Officers in the RNC, I think they ddo an Excellent Job to Protect us and Our Property.
    Curt Miller St John`s NL.

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    RNC responded correctly. Case closed! Some people just try to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  • Crystal
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Here's a question, what happened to the bright orange tip that all toy guns are supposed to have? That is the most obvious way to tell if the gun was a toy or not, without it, the cop has no way of knowing.

    While I am not a big fan of the RNC, I will say that they did no wrong here, the parents should have had more sense then to let their child play with a realistic looking toy gun, if there is no orange tip, add duct tape or something else...

  • Lorne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Too many police officers have died from unloaded guns!!!Too many individuals have died because I didn't know the gun was loaded . This police officer should be commended for the way he handled the situation, not critized. This boy is very lucky...others , perhaps , would have not used the approach this officer did. We need more police officers like him.

  • JT
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    How could anyone possibly argue that a police officer should assume that an object that appears to be a real firearm is not in fact real? Do you expect a cop to walk up to the guy and ask him if he can have a look? Seriously?

    The fact that the fellow was developmentally delayed has no bearing on the scenario that played out -- except shifting the responsibility for his actions to the parents, who appear unready to assume any responsibility. I'm guessing that any limits to Justin's mental development haven't affected his physical growth, and since we don't all have E.S.P. we're incapable of automatically knowing that he's developmentally delayed, the public sees an adult-sized human being running around with what appears to be a firearm and reacts accordingly. What do you expect will happen? He's going to be treated the same as anyone else who does something like that.

    If the parents are so concerned about the welfare of their son, then don't do ridiculously stupid things like this and allow him to get into the situation he ended up in. He might have the intellectual level of a 6- or 7-year old, and his parents may treat him as such and probably even think of him as being that age, but to the general public who don't know him he's an 18-year old.

  • Ryan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    It was a misunderstanding, the officer acted accordingly, end of story.

  • Colin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Alright, just a few points some of you should consider: 1. The gun looks real, and a 1 inch colored tip isn't going to be so noticable from 100+ feet away. 2. It could have easily been real, since there are countless people in this city with illegal weapons, who, I'm sure don't follow weapon storage laws, making them easily accessible to children. 3. Developmentally delayed children/adults need to be supervised, whether that's a harsh reality-check for some of you or not, for their own safety as well others. 4. The police are assigned the unpleasant duty of protecting an unappreciative bunch of scoff-laws, which they do under an unimaginable amount of stress. The officer should have investigated? What do you think he was doing? 5. The MAN was NOT hurt, no thanks to the good people to whom his care is entrusted, hey, maybe buy him a gun from the other 80% of toy guns that DO look like toys. 6. Criminals can paint their guns too? I'd be willing to bet that most don't, but regardless it's a good indication of the authenticity of the weapon (plus, a young man brandishing a brightly colored gun wouldn't appear as threatening as a fully grown man toting the same gun). 7. The parents are upset about how it was handled? Maybe if they had taught their young man to comply to what police request of you, the officer wouldn't have had to approach him, weapon drawn. And let's not forget that none of this would have happened if they exercised smarter shopping practises. 8. The neighborhood doesn't matter a pinch, whether it happened on a dirt road around the Bay, Torbay Rd. or Masonic Park, I'm certain that in EVERY neighborhood in St. John's, there is a drug dealer, most of whom own illegal weapons. Those of you that like to think of Newfoundland as a haven from the crime and evil of the world are sadly disillusioned. Wake up, it ain't the old days anymore. 9. The police aren't targeting the differently-abled, they're targeting suspicious activity, and really, would you rather that they didn't? 10. I'm sure most of you criticizing the officer have never had a real gun pointed at you, try it and tell me that you would approach him to wager that it wasn't real. He acted more bravely and sensibly than most of you do in your day to day lives. This police officer should be commended for his courage and presence of mind, try that in L.A. and see what happens. Nobody was hurt, we know that the gun in question is one less gun we need to worry about, and the worst side of this incident is that the young man and his parents were upset, boo-hoo. Try and appreciate the positives of the outcome. And as for apologies? The family should apologise to the officer for turning an otherwise normal day into one where he felt he could be risking his life to save those who would obviously never return the favor.

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Seriously, why are people up in arms about this? I understand the cause with the autistic boy being arrested being controversial, but an officer responding to a call with a young man carrying what appeared to be a dangerous weapon?

    Obviously the boy understood that the officer meant business and yielded his weapon , when the officer realized it was just a toy he put his gun away and there was no violence whatsoever.

    The boy was not beaten, arrested, or treated in any manner to be considered unfair or unlawful. If anyone appears to have a weapon in a public area, the police would respond in the same way. The fact that the boy has a disability is irrelevant in this story. Here is how it should read.

    Police Called To Scene With Teen Yielding Toy Gun.
    No arrests made.

    End of story?

  • Cindy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I would not allow any of my children to play near the street with any type of toy that resembled a real weapon. It's just too dangerous in this society.
    You never know when someone will misinterpret the actions of another and then make an assumption...
    I would think, with this young man being autistic, the parents would have barriers in place to ensure his safety thus preventing this type of thing from happening in the first place.
    It is good to know he wasn't harmed and the police acted in a professional manner. All is well that ends well.

  • Greg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Lou from Vancouver yeah well that's a big city problem you people have - I know. I lived in TO/LA for 15 years and know all about it. It's the big city problems that affect all the rest of Canada negatively.

    Funny enough, these toy guns have been on the market for DECADES, why all of a sudden do we have this problem of police showing up and immediately drawing their pistols ? If it was an mp5, one cop and a pistol against an mp5 wouldn't have a chance against it's longer sight radius (longer barrel) and magazine capacity. Not only that, there would be about another dozen kids come out of the forest with 'mp5s'. Observation would have been more prudent for the RNC for his/her own safety if he/she really believed it was an mp5. Otherwise... not a chance...

    None of this was ever a problem here before. We don't have the extent of the problems found in big cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. As a matter of fact, any problems we do have are usually come-from-aways who come here doing no good. You see it all the time here in the paper - foreigners being caught.

    Heck, you can even be killed if you carry a stapler in Vancouver. I think all Vancouverites should be on a some sort of medication to keep them calm. And I'm NOT talking about the 'medication' you are famous for.

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    The RNC responded correctly to a 911 call about a man with a gun in a rough and tough neighbourhood. Personally, knowing this area, I wouldn't have gotten out of the car without backup and a dogman.

  • Ruby
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Most toy guns coming out now will have bright orange markings (either orange caps or painted on). Parents, do not remove these markings/caps.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    The mother has propositioned for a way for toy guns to be more recognizable.

    That's easy, all toy guns should not be made to look like real guns, for example, make all toy guns out of a bright plastic colour (green, yellow, etc.).

    Logic dictates that if the public had warned of a man with a gun walking in public, the polic handled the situation according to training.

    I don't see any issue here.

  • READ people!
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    To Nitrocellulose and Hilary... look at the other photo again, look where the 'red cap' is, and READ the caption. Now take your two hands an hold them both up in front of you with your pointer finger straight up and thumbs 90 degrees to that... which one makes an 'L' ? Quoted caption: The toy gun used in Monday's incident is on the left, while a real Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun is on the right. Photo submitted by the RNC

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I sympathise with the RNC. But please tell me the Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun held by the RNC guy is one that was confiscated by the RNC and not a Standard RNC issue. God help us. What happens when the weapon is held by a developmentally delayed RNC member?

  • violet
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I believe that the officer did the right thing, hey how was he supposed to know that it was a fake gun. Many officers have been shot due to Guns ..so i believe they did the right thing..I know the boy is mentally delayed( i have a child myself that is mentally delayed) and his mother was and is upset, noone wants anything to happen to their child whether they have anything wrong with them or not ..Now it is the mothers place to teach the boy that playing with guns is not a Good thing to do. She needs to explain that sometimes bad people have guns and that they can harm others and that the police did the right thing by demanding that he drop the gun ..IT WAS FOR EVERYONES SAFETY including the boys ...I KNOW EVERYONE WAS UPSET AND in disaray .but THE LAW IS THE LAW... lets not make the Police officers out to be bad people when they did what was taught them in an intense situation ..i mean they had calls saying a man was waving a gun around ...how was anyone supposed to know it was fake ..obviously the people calling in thought it was A REAL GUN, they obviously thought it was a serious situation that needed the polices attention ...HATS OFF TO THE RNC ON THIS ONE ...GOOD JOB GUYS.

  • Avalon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    An offer received two calls claiming there was an adult with a gun on Torbay Rd.

    The officer responded and found an 18 year-old on Torbay Road with what appeared to be a gun.

    The officer carefully approached the 18 year old with his own gun raised until he was able to verify it was a toy.

    Thank you, officer, for acting the way you did. Our police force has a tough job to do and it is not unfathomable to encounter a situation where a resident has a real gun and the potential to fire it. Everybody is safe and at the end of the day, that was the officers job.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Ev from NL and Steve from Mount Pearl, NL... what's to stop criminals from simply painting real guns bright orange or yellow with a can of spray paint ? Or kids from painting their toys black ? Have you thought of that ? Maybe you'll suggest banning paint.

    I think the binoculars idea is a GREAT idea. It sounds very Russian - simple, cheap, practical and effective.

    It would only require the typical RNC about 3 weeks of training ;)

    A much safer solution is to replace RNC sidearms with binoculars and call in the pros (RCMP) when an important job is to be done.

  • Stop the introduction of
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    To: ³ from NL

    Yes I have been out of NL and out of the country, matter of fact I am 7700 kms away from NL at this very moment, but if no country grows a Military Force there will be no large scale wars. That is all I need to say.

    Why do we need to fight other peoples wars, since when we do we cause more destruction and prolong matters even further? P

    Please do not forget Canada and the United States warred against each other at one point, and now we are as one, best friends, each others greatest trading partner. But why do matters have to come head to head with a full scale war? Matters can be negotiated, can't they.

    I think war is popuar with some nations because it aids and abets big business, especially the Ammunition Industry.

    Politicians in power over the centuries have become Billionaires from that business.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Nitrocellulose, binoculars? Are you kidding me?

    Quoting you,

    A much safer solution is to replace RNC sidearms with binoculars and call in the pros (RCMP) when an important job is to be done.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Okay, let me paint you a picture.....

    If were ever staring down the barrel of a gun being held by someone else, do you want the RNC to be looking through their binoculars from 150 yards away to confirm if it's a real gun or a toy or do you want them to take action and save your life?

    I can just picture it now, the RNC was late in taking in action to save the life of Nitrocellulose because they were busy looking through their binoculars! Get Real!

    You want to make a clear difference between toy guns and real guns, make toy guns look so completely rediculous and stupid that no one can mistake them for a real gun.

  • Jennifer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Yes. Lets ban children from playing with guns because they promote violence. Lets also ban Barbies because they promote an unrealistic body image. Lets ban toy cars because children crash them together and they promote unsafe driving skills. Lets ban television because a child might accidentally turn on something violent. Lets ban hot dogs because eating animals is cruel while we're at it!

    We can't shelter our children from the world. Our children are growing up in the same unsafe world we did (and still are). Parents shouldn't teach their children that all is good in the world, that life is rainbows and puppydogs, what are we preparing them for?

    We played with Barbies, we played with toy guns, we did it all, I like to think most of us turned out okay. As long as moderation is key and we teach our kids the simplicity of right from wrong we'll be fine.

    Why is this even an issue? I was a little girl playing cops and robbers with the boys 20 years ago, and I played with my Barbies too. I'm not anorexic, nor am I homicidal. Truthfully I'm afraid of guns, and I appreciate my love handles. Reason being: Mommy and Daddy taught me how the world really works, not this sugar coated happy land we want our children to think they live in.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    We have the best police force in the country. They are not trigger happy and always use common sense despite their rough and tough job.
    We have to psychologically put ourselves in their boots , and it is certain that most of us would jump out of them very fast when we are faced with the reality of what is expected of our police.

    A salute to our men and women in the RNC.

    Frank Blackwood
    Richmond Hill, Ont.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    The last two incidents that occurred with the Police and Mentally Challenged kids makes me laugh when i see how the public reacts.
    Everyone is all sympathetic for the kids because they are mentally challenged, but for god sakes, nobody is blaming the parents? The autistic boy out at 11:00pm by himself walking down the street, what the hell is that? This young boy playing with a toy gun that looks real, with no supervision in sight.

    People, wake up. If the public keeps harping on the Police for doing their job, pretty soon they'll actually become gunshy, and that's when the sh!t will hit the fan! Who knows, maybe they wont' be as reactive in the future, when they are really needed.

    Suck it up, the Police are actually doing a good job. Don't make them hesitant just because parents are not being careful of what their own children are doing!

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Bob Clarke from Nl we don't live in Columbine (or the U.S. of War) and this didn't happen inside a school. Turn off your tv set for god's sake.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I recall there was a similar story on a national news station in the States about 10 years ago dealing with this exact same issue.

    Let's look at this another way...if this weapon was a real gun, and this teenager ended up 'accidentally' shooting someone - who would be complaining ? Probably the same people who DIDN'T call the police.

    The fact of the matter is this -- the RNC is trained to deal with situations like this in a professional manner, regardless of who is involved. It seems to me that people are missing the point here. A GUN is a GUN...and until the police are aware of the situation, they have to act accordingly.

  • mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    This story which thankfully ended well was handled appropriately by the RNC. I'm sure they are faced with many daily stressful situations but to come to a 911 call with a grown teenager holding what looked like a machine gun who would know if it was reality or not. We have far too many memorial services nation, world wide for victims of shootings @ schools, workplaces etc. The mother should be thanking the kid who alerted the police of her son being delayed because who would think this normal looking young man had the intellect of a 6 or 7 year old boy.

  • fintip
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Public reaction to this incident is starkly different from the Dane Spurrell case -as it should be. In the latter case, there was a clear error in judgement from the outset. That error was compounded by a lack of supervision by more experienced staff once the autistic young man reached the lockup. I'd like to hear the findings of that inquiry, but in the meantime it doesn't appear that there was any ill-intent or that the officers broke any laws. Despite this, Chief Browne acknowledged the seriousness of the mistake, apologized to the family, and pledged training to better equip officers to recognize and deal with the mentally challenged. The RNC handling of that situation is in sharp contrast to the disgraceful behaviour of the RCMP in the killing of Robert Dzienski. Most police officers in Canada, including the RCMP, are conscientious professionals. But almost everyone agrees there is a small percentage in every force that is a throwback to the cave man era. The difference is whether their behaviour is covered up or condoned by management (as it was in the Dzienski case). I believe Browne's handling of the Spurrell incident, while it didn't silence all the criticism, earned the RNC a degree of public respect. The point is that any police force, if it behaves in an open and honest manner, can bank credibility with the public and that credibility can serve it well when there is an incident of the type involving Justin Ryan. There will always be some who distrust cops. But the majority of us trust the RNC management enough that we are willing to accept the force's account of events, based on which we should commend the officer for his professional conduct. It doesn't mean we're unsympathetic to a family that is understandably upset by the incident - indeed there are far too many posters that are parent bashing or neighbor bashing. Stuff happens. There doesn't always need to be bad guy.

    The one contradiction that I did pick up on is the comment from Justice Minister Marshall who apparently said that officers have enough training in mental health issues. While it has little to do with this case, it is very much an issue in the Dane Spurrell incident. Chief Browne acknowledged as much publicly and undertook to improve training in that area. Let's hope Marshall's assessment doesn't diminish Browne's resolve to follow through with that training.

  • kim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    OMG!! I know the boy involved. I am disgusted in what I just read in the article. This situation could of been handled much better. The family involved are good people and have enough stress in their lives that is above the normal. My heart goes out to Justin.

  • Nancy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    the RNC done exactly what we would of wanted them to do if the gun wasn't real....why do they have to justify it so deeply. Good job!!!

  • Sheila
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I am not a great fan of the police on anyday and I feel that at least 2-3 years training should be had before they hit the streets and a bit of the schoolyard bully remains in far to many of them. As a result the criminals usually win far to often and the law abiding people suffer the results. But on this occasion I agree with the officer and I think the fact that he did not shoot put his life at risk. I do not know if I could have had the courage to advance on a man with a gun that had refused to put it down.

    The mother is responsible for her son and she needs to have the common sense to understand that people see an adult,in this case an adult with a gun.
    She should thank the officer for not shooting and then rethink her parenting methods for dealing with an adult with the mind of a child with her eye on the preceptions of society on a whole in regards her son. Safety first should rule all her decisions even in the choice of toys.

  • Reality Check
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    A professional reaction with the safety of the public being paramount. A perfectly executed response as it was resolved peacefully and no charges need be laid. I'm happy to know if I see someone walking down the street with a gun, the police will come when I call them. I also observe that a larger than proportionate number of eighteen year olds would find this 'cool', and the police encounter them regularly, maybe not with guns, but give em a bit of time...

  • JT
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    DeeBee, I don't know where in the province you are, but Torbay Road in St. John's is a very long road and the area in question is in a pretty busy part of the city. There's no reasonable basis for assuming that the people who called police were neighbours.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    No Steve from Mount Pearl, NL that's not what happened. No one was looking down the barrel of a gun. Causing more sensationalism are you ? This hysteria has to stop.

    Last fall just before Xmas I was driving down the street here in Mt. Pearl and drove by two men, one of which was carrying a very real hunting rifle over his shoulder. Complete with scope. He was not carrying it legally as it was supposed to be cased and a trigger lock should have been in place.

    But I'm a NLer and understood by their demeanor, paraphenalia, time of day and location this was no threat and just a couple of young (and ignorant of the laws - young fellas) going hunting. Or simply transporting the fiream (albeit illegally). I never freaked out and called the police - you would. Actually, I don't believe anyone did because they were gone after passing through the whole town and no sighting or news story of any incident despite 100's of vehicles having passed by them. Had this been in the east end with all the foreigners working in the oil field, they would have carried on like you, not understanding the history of our culture and heritage. Full of gun phobia. Do you have vehicular-weapon phobia too ?

    And to offset your foolish suggestion. Criminals can make their firearms look absolutely ridiculous as well, just to throw people off. Paint them bright colours and add silly things to them. Listen, anyone intent on doing something criminal is not likely to be found in a remote grassy field playing with other children. They would likely be clandestine and have purpose to achieve their 'goal'. Think about it (for once).

  • Man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    I believe without a doubt that the RNC handled this properly, however why would only one officer respond, do the RNC have a ETF squad to respond to these type of situations. If that had to be a real gun, it would come down between one Officer and one Man. And lost of innocent people. I believe that ever available officer should have responded to the call. What if there is someone out there that actually have a real gun with the intent on hurting somone, how is one officer going to handle it??

  • BRAVO FOR THE RNC!
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    RNC handle the situation well, how could they have known if the gun is real or not. They have to protect themself & the people regardless...
    There was a MAN with a GUN!!
    A GUN is a GUN!

    TO the RNC:
    -BRAVO !! For the job well done!
    -It was for everyone SAFETY!
    -The officer used his training to deal with situations like this in a professional manners!

    TO the PARENTS:
    -You both should be thanking the kid who alerted the police of your son being developmentally delayed.
    -If going OUTSIDE he should have been supervised.
    -Why would you let your ADULT son play with a gun that looks REAL...especially OUTDOOR!!
    -Remember TWO phone calls to 9-1-1
    -STOP blaming the RNC, the toy can be mistaken for a REAL GUN!!

    Sadly,I understand the family being upset but what happen if that was the other family, you could see it clearly...right.
    All toy guns that LOOKS REAL should be banned.

  • get over it
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    i guess that the proper way to have handled this incident would be for the police officer to walk up to the boy, sans drawn weapon, and politely ask him hey dude, it that a toy gun or a real one? . good for him if its a toy... very bad for him if its real. for this officer to approach this man without any backup, i think is brave in itself. when the police receive multiple calls saying that there is a man waving a gun, do you think that the dispatcher should tell the caller to stop, and go in and take a closer look to see if its a toy? get real.
    bravo to the RNC officer for the way he/she handled this. this man could have been severley injured or dead if the officer had not responded the way he did.
    on the same hand, and i hope to get some feedback on this point on the message board:
    if you rob a store with a toy gun, does that make you any less guilty??

  • Unsure
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I think they reacted in the right way.....A lot of ppl including mom is blaming the police but obviously the neighbours who complained didn't know it was a toy gun either.....If it hadn't been a toy gun and this poor boy had killed someone then what? The police would then have the blame once again....I think for mom lesson learned and for the police it is a no win situation......In my mind...Great Job!!

  • the real Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    'Police say anyone would have had a tough time determining whether this toy gun was the real thing.' - Telegram

    Well, the police aren't 'anyone', they are supposed to be trained professionals and able to identify toy guns with an obvious red tip on the end of the barrel.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=248453&sc=79

    Ask yourself this... how many times across Canada do police mistake toys for real guns and almost kill an innocent person ? I can't even recall reading one incident in all the online papers I read. Not one. Why is that ?

  • Charlotte
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Great job officers. You did what you were trained to do. It's good to know that you reacted the way you did. If that lady's son came face to face with an 18 year old male, waving a real gun around and threatening him I'm sure she would be thinking differently right now. I'm sure she would be pleased to know that the officers were doing everything they had to do, to make sure her son was being protected.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    On The Lighter Side

    Who's going to be the biggest focus of jokes at Rising Tides 2009 Year in Review?

    a. Eastern Health
    b. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
    c. Deputy Premier- Kathy Dunderdale
    d. All of the above

    Answer. D

    Act #1

    Minister Dunderdale takes sick and was immediately taken to the Health Science. After being diagnosed with the swine flu she was then mistakenly given chemotherapy treatment.
    Next the RNC were brought into investigate the matter and when Mrs. Dunderdale asks to speak to her lawyer. She calls, Bob Simmions, Mr. Simmions asks the RNC to put away their guns because Kathy he said, Kathy is no criminal, she will do what ever she is told. He then explained that he's got living proof of this. He further explains - Kathy being doing what ever she's being told since Mr. Williams became premier in 2003.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I don't think the police or the parents are at fault here. It seems more likely to me that it was a neighbour (or two) either with an axe to grind or just plain being an idiot and trying to make a big scene.

    Aside from that, if there was a legitimate concern on the part of a person in the area, if he couldn't figure out that it was a toy gun, how would you expect a police officer to do any better?

  • JH
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Firearms and other types of weapons (knives, granades, swords) should never be made as toys . Parents should not buy them or allow their children to have them. If the kids really want to play cops and robbers, they can use their thumb and pointer finger like we did as kids.

  • John W.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    To the RNC..
    A job well done. Amen.

  • Joelle
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I find it ironic that the mother of the austistic kid who was unlawfully treated is forgiving but yet the mother of the gun-weilding kid is still blaming the police for wrong doing.

    I commend the RNC no injuries and a job well done all handled in a professional manner...

    While I am sympathetic to Justin......
    GET OVER IT MOM & DAD...concentrate on your son he obviously needs your support now.

  • dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    As a former law enforcement officer,I can see both sides to this event.I'm sure the mother was horrified to see her son like that,as I am sure that the officer involved was tense himself.good outcome,let it rest.Remember back in 2002 the armoured car event at the Village mall involving a teen boy and a toy gun.......I'll bet the officer does.Alittle common sense goes a long way people.

  • Driver
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Oh well,this case will cast the light away from the other RNC faux pas with the autistic guy. I'm sure that the kid ( and I say kid becuase he has the capacity of a 7 year old) in this case was known to the neighborhood (and possibly to the people who lodged the complaints). The guy is lucky to be alive.

  • Laura H
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    I agree with all of you who have in one way or another commended the police for acting as they did in this incident.

    Its ridiculous to think that this family is turning this to look like the fault of the police. In my opinion, such toys shouldn't exist and I do not see why a parent would allow a child to have a toy as realistic as shown in the provided photos.

    If the scene was different and someone had held up this young man with a toy gun; the parents would be describing to the media a horrific scene involving their son with a gun to their head and the obvious point that the gun wasn't real would be insignificant..

    Great to see most people supporting the police in this situation.

  • Craig
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Aren't all toy guns supposed to have yellow or orange tips so that they can be easily identified as such and not the real thing?????

  • Christine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    If the parents are saying that this mentally delayed man isn't streetwise then why was he not supevised while out playing with the area children.
    I think the police were in their rights, if this had to be in a larger Metro area in Canada, it would have ended different.
    I know if I had a dependant with mental disibilities they would not be unsupervised.

  • Lou
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    One thing no one seems to be addressing........why do kids need to play with guns in this day and age due to all the illegal use of them and certainly if that kid had been out here he would likely have been shot as he may have been mistaken for one of the many brazen gun toting gangsters. His mother needs a reality check to let her grown son with a 6 year mentality tote a gun around. A refresher in parenting 101! The officer deserves a big thumbs up for how he handled the situation.

  • Larry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Why do the RNC have a Heckler&Koch MP5 that they can take outside to a press conference. Why is that gun even in this province? And what other War Wepons do they have that can get in the wrong hands.?

  • BB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I agree the RNC responded correctly to the 911 call. Parents need to think twice about allowing their kids to play outside with toy guns. If they feel it's ok, then try buying blue or orange or yellow guns so people passing by can tell they are not real. Times have changed. Thank you officers for making the right call.

  • Hillary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    OK I can see the red tip on that toy gun in that other photo why didn't the RNC officer see it? Does there traning include recognising toy guns like this one with an obvious red tip on it?

  • Ed
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    kim from NL writes: OMG!! I know the boy involved. I am disgusted in what I just read in the article. This situation could of been handled much better. The family involved are good people and have enough stress in their lives that is above the normal. My heart goes out to Justin.
    Are you serious ? Are you aware that here in town that the pillars of Society are now carrying weapons to protect there illegal gains. Here was a man who too has a family, working s civil service job. more then likely has a family too. What if he assumed that it was a toy and it wasn't... we maybe have a funeral for this officer right now. Your bias is showing in your comments. Justin situation could have been worse. If he turned the gun on the officer, then that man would have NO OTHER CHOICE TO FIRE ON HIM. As it turned out he was just a little shaken up and is alive to enjoy the nice sunny weather today

    Great Job brave officer

  • Me
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Ok.. So because this child is mental delayed and after working with people in the same situation for a long time.. Never know if they really understand, so what would of happened if Justin didnt understand and walked towards the cop and the cop shoot him, and Justin died.. Would it be the cops or parents fault..

    I live in a area where i see cop's everyday many times a day and let me tell ya, some cop's some are good and some is bad, some cop's in RNC are worse the people selling drug's out there.. They think they are above the law.. They aint..

  • San
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    When I heard this story on the radio this morning, I thought to myself.. more reason to bash the police! I am so relieved that people see this as a good responce by the police. It was a good responce. I'm so glad that people are on the look out for such thing in their neighbourhoods. There WAS a MAN with a gun. To the parents of this MAN...how on earth could you let your ADULT son play with a gun that looks so real. As a mother, and in the world we live in today, I dont' think children should be playing with toy guns, especially when children in other countries have real ones.

    It's time for parents of mentally delayed children who have now entered adulthood, that even though you see their special needs, it's more difficult for the general public to see. There are so many different levels of mental disabilities. How on earth would anyone know. Like it or not, they are grown ups now.

    Thank you to the police dept. Thank you for protecting the area. Let this be a wake up call to all parents, if you're going to let your kids play with guns, don't by the ones that look so real. We have all heard of times when kids get their hands on real ones, and it could happen anywhere anytime.

    Look at the picture above, I can't tell the difference.

  • 2cents
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Why should the RNC apologize for handling a situation properly and in the way they were trained? Regardless if the young man has a mental disability or not the situation was handled properly. Why are the parents letting an 18 year old run around playing with small kids even if his mental capacity is their age? He could hurt them unwittingly by his size alone. He should have been supervised no question. All plastic toy guns should be banned they are too real looking. Only wooden ones for play like in the old days should be permitted for sale. You can't mistake them for the real deal at least.

  • Disgusted
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I agree, the cops once again followed proceedure and did their job. While I understand delayed or autistic humans need to be treated with respect and as responsible humans, if they are allowed out alone and unprotected they need to be able to be held in account of thier actions. Why was this child out alone wondering one of the most busy streets in the city? Once again, he ahs rights but needs care all the same!
    Parents, it is time to keep an eye on ALL children, and their toys! AND leave your pity me stories out of the media, way to make an a** of yourself!

  • Stop the introduction of
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    I think we have all learned a lesson from this sad event, there shall be no more guns brought into our homes as toys for our children to play with.

    Yes, we have to stop introducing our children to toy guns, maybe that will even stop the agression of future wars?

    We must also stop the Military from entering our schools to introduce the New and Improved Big Guns and War Toys so as to encourage more recruits. War of all types must stop, so does the encouragement of our childen to join the Armed Forces.

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Question?

    The police receive calls claiming a man is waving a gun in a neighbourhood, and one officer responds????

    One officer, not a special squad? Man carrying gun and one officer responds?

    Then we have one officer with gun and one man with gun in the middle of a neighbourhood???

  • DeeBee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    To ½ wit - It probably wouldn't have happened around the bay for two reasons: 1. Police are a lot less plentiful. By the time the RCMP got to a community with a similar issue, the kid would have been called home for supper... and would probably be in bed. 2. Less chance of someone driving by who doesn't know everyone else in the community. Having said that, just because there are less people living in whatever community you live in compared to St. John's doesn't mean that there aren't incidents of violence. Lower population density means less likelihood of occurance, but doesn't rule it out completely. Donny Dooley: I know Torbay Road where this occurred... I wouldn't call it the roughest neighbourhood in the St. John's area by a long shot.

  • Ev
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    All toy guns should be made out of bright red or yellow material so no one would mistake it for the real thing. Black guns, real or toy, look the same from a distance.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I congratulate the officer who responded to the call for his professionalism and so should the child's parents.

  • Newf
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I dont see the part here where one police officer responded to a call of a man with a gun. It says that the officer seen the man and approached him, and a neighbour told the mans mother that the police had the guy and she better come out. I am glad that the story ended like it did. I would not let my 6 or 7 yr old play on the parking lots on Torbay Road alone. Nor would I buy them a toy gun!

  • Kelly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I never take part in commenting on this type of thing but with all the foolishness surrounding this story, I felt like I had to make my point...
    Although I understand the family being upset over what happened, I really feel like its time to get over it! Yes it is completely understandable for you to be upset but I fully believe that this was handled absolutely in the right manner..there was no Robocop with something to prove..there was an officer who used his training in the best possible manner. With the rising crime in this province, I don't believe it would be unimaginable for an adult to be seen in public with a weapon..the picture in the Telegram today demonstrates exactly how it would be hard to tell the difference in a toy gun as opposed to a real gun...I also believe that there is to much emphasis being put on the fact that this man is mentally challenged (simply because of recent events)..I'm sure that he will be just fine, yes understably upset but fine..lets remember that there was NO physical contact!!
    Lets move on now..

  • kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    maybe the govt. should go after the toy companies and have them paint all toy guns red, blue, green. anything but the same color of the real gun.it would make it easier for the police to identify.

  • DeeBee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Tough call! Fortunately, the teen didn't act in a threatening way or point the weapon at the officer or he could be in hospital this morning... or worse. What's really surprising, though, is that the kids he was playing with knew he was delayed and that it was a plastic weapon, but whoever (a neighbour, I assume) called police didn't have the sense to investigate further before doing so... I mean, the mother says she wouldn't let him go to the store by himself, but the neighbours didn't recognize him? Sounds a little fishy to me...

  • Earl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Also, in addition to my earlier comment, I'd like to add that one of the 911 calls was made by a motorist who had just driven by the area and saw what she described as a man with a rifle.

    She obviously didn't know it was a toy, and she certainly didn't know it was Justin Ryan. I commend her as well for being alert enough to notice such a thing.

  • Ken
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    To Donny Dooly. I grew up in that area of town and I can tell you first hand that it isn't a hard part of town. Do you know where Torbay Road is? It isn't like that long dirt road that runs through Downtown Dil-do!!

  • Nell
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    It seems as though many people, like myself, support the actions of the officer. I think everyone should step back, consider this situation being with someone who is not developmentally delayed and then re-assess where they stand. The officer did the right thing. Getting the gun out of the hands of the young man was the first priority. Those who say 'take more time to assess' should consider looking at this from the eyes of this officer. Safety first for all involved. I feel for the young man because I'm sure he was confused and frightened, however it seems that there is more being made of this situation than necessary. My question is for those who say this was not handled properly or this could have been handled differently or better . How would you have handled it? What would you do if you walked outside your home today and saw a stranger walking past with a gun? What would you do if you responded to this scene and saw a young man walking around with the gun, knowing that you were the one that was now responsible for the safety of him, you and all others in the area? What better way was there? I think the answer is clear. The officer should be commended and thanked.

  • Let's get real
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    How did this kid get a 'look alike' machine gun? was it given to him by his parents? Of course the police took care of matters the appropriate way, and how would they know it was a fake? As the mom of a retired Police Officer here in Calif I understand the ramifications of a person holding any type of weapon. It scares the heck out of folks. And why should Police give an apology to the family, even a person with Austism has to be held accountable or his parents for that matter for brandishing a weapon. Just my humble opinion.
    From an ex-patriot Townie

  • ½ wit
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    25 - 30 years ago I regularly walked down the street to the woods with my BB gun on a regular basis, no one called the police. The police, in fact, just drove on by and waved, many times. No big deal. Today there is too much hysteria in the general public and a lack of common sense when it comes to seeing a group of kids playing with toy guns with red stoppers which shoots... nothing.

    Maybe the police can investigate the dollar stores to see if they are bringing in properly configured toy guns. If they are not properly configured toys guns, maybe the police can investigate why Canada Customs let these toys into the country. Did you know there are laws governing the entry of toy guns into Canada ? They must meet certain criterion so as to be identified as such. Maybe the police do not even know this.

    I hope the police and the public stay out of the woods here all year around because many people hunt various game all year around and we don't need hysterical police or public making something out of nothing.

    We have to start thinking about our OWN cultural standards and heritage and forget about the sensationalized images we see in Amexican news channels.

    This would NEVER happen around the bay, people have common sense.

  • family member
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I agree the RNC done there job and know they had to do there job when they got the 911 call.But whose to say those calls were just some one trying to stir up some trouble.That boy was well known in the area and its the first time ever there was any trouble there and it wasn't the first time for them to be out playing with there guns.For those people who are putting all the blame on the parents i guess you are perfect people rearing perfect children.Let me give a bit of advice to all who made there rude commends some day not saying when you may walk down the road they are in and and you may like for someone to say something nice and not be so mean and hurtful.There is a long road ahead my friends so stop and think before you jump on someone else.You are not hurting the family only yourself. We can live with having a disabled child can you if you were in our shoes.

  • RE
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I wish people would take responsible for their children. The fact that this MAN is mentally challenged is irrelevant. Stop using these things as excuses for people's actions.

    You can't run around the streets with toy weapons, as an adult if I did that I would be arrested or even worse shot.

  • rhonda
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Lets try and sum this up, a mother with a developmently challenged 18 yr old, allows him to purchase a replica firearm and wonders why police acted the way they did. Give your head a shake I'm surprised the police didn't shoot him, be thankful you live where you live otherwise this would have ended very differently.

  • Tony
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Well done RNC.

    There are several people in this discussion asking why only one officer was responding and not a special squad. Can you imagine the headlines the media would write then. 10 heavily armed RNC officers surround disabled 18 year with toy gun. Do you guys really think there is a squad of officers sitting in RNC headquarters waiting for these type of calls?

  • what
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    ½ wit from NL writes: 25 - 30 years ago I regularly walked down the street to the woods-------

    Completely agreed...As a kid cowboys and Indians was the rave. Like most kids I had a holster and TWO pistols cowboy hat, vest and a Winchester '94........Lots of time played in this game.....We have been lured into thinking every one with a toy is a potential murder.....Assessment and reaction has been tossed out the window by most.......Too bad ---- we need to check and reevaluate our expectations......

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    I think the police officer involved did a terrfic job and should be commended for keeping his cool. If this happened in the USA that kid would be history.
    Good job RNC.

  • mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Just a thought, but anybody find it odd that only one officer was dispatched to a report of a man with a gun?

    I mean if you call for fire you get a few trucks and a dozens guys...would'nt you figure more than one officer should have been on scene for what looked like an automatic weapon?

  • david
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    RNC officers have not been carrying sidearms for very long, so what was the procedure in a case like this before they carried sidearms. I'm sure it was not for one officer to handle alone, and that a little more time would have been taken to assess the situation.

    As for the, can you tell the difference picture, if both men were the same size and were both wearing light colored clothes, then the difference would be much more noticeable.

    If this was procedure, the officer did his job perfectly, but if it was procedure then the procedures should be tweaked a little. Maybe retain a little of the old procedure used before sidearms were carried. Just a suggestion that may save a life in the future.

  • He Said
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Just like in Edmonton the other day. The car the Police attacked LOOKED like the one they were looking for. Looks are different from facts. Next time I think people need to take care to investigate EVERYTHING before jumping to conclusions. Both the people that called 911, as well as the response to the call. Too many nosy Nellies with far too much time on their hands. Maybe the person who called from the cell phone while driving by this event should receive the ticket as well as a ticket for a stupid call. But it is ok to break this or that law as long as you are not disabled and have a lawyer to call at all times. I recall a old T-Shirt Welcome to Kitchener Home of Police Brutality. Should get us a new one here, Welcome to St. Johns Newfoundland We Strive to Arrest or Shoot Our Disabled to Keep Them from Public Sight.

    Sooner or later things WILL get out of control then where will all these people be. I hope that the day comes when you are out for that Sunday drive with the wife and kids, and your car LOOKS like it is the one they are after and you are pulled out with gins in your face. Then when you try to explain to the police they are wrong, you find yourselves on the hot end of a taser and a good old fashion police beating just for going about your business. Yes it happens all the time.

  • m b
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    With the way the world is today, I think that guns of any type, toy or not, should be banned. Children are influenced enough by the television shows and video games, and acting out what they see is not farfetched. I have two children of my own and by no means are guns, again, toy or real, allowed in my house or my children are not allowed to play with them. The only ones they can play with is a water gun which are big and brightly colored.

  • Sparkey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Hi All: First-of-all,I would like to say in what I have saw on News Reports ,the RNS did NOTHING WRONG! I lived in Ontario for 15yrs & if this kid would have been in the Jane & Finch area with a Toy-Gun,things would have been MUCH different!,& yes I know 'this is not Ontario',as alot of people will say when they read the top-part,but with the Armed Robberies,& drugs turning up,its getting-to-be,like Ontario.

  • Rick
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Painting toy guns is not the answer, crooks could just paint their real guns bright orange to give them the split second they may require to win the gun fight

  • H
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I have no idea what this woman is upset about. Isn't it illegal to point a gun at someone even if the gun is fake? Why does her son have such a real-looking gun? In that photo above I can't tell which is real or fake, and if either were in the same vicinity as me, I would have been terrified. People are overreacting because of what happened with the arrest of an autistic man a couple of weeks ago.

    What the RNC officer here did was right, and I am glad to know that they handled it that way. Unfortunately due to the outburst of emotions here, I'm afraid officers may fear taking the correct action in the future, especially if members of the public are going to scrutinize them.

  • Nitrocellulose
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Crystal from NL writes: 'Here's a question, what happened to the bright orange tip that all toy guns are supposed to have? That is the most obvious way to tell if the gun was a toy or not, without it, the cop has no way of knowing.'

    Crystal... it's right here in plain view in this photo supplied by the RNC to the Telegram, as is required by law to help police officers identify toy guns.

    http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=248453&sc=79

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Job well done RNC officer. Dunno why the RNC has to justify its actions.

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Unfortunately we do not live in the same world as we once did. The Columbine incident and all the rest that have followed have taught this to us. these parents should hold their son close and thank God that the officer involved showed the restraint that he did in not shooting. Learn something from it and teach your son how to react when confronted by police. I also feel that realistic guns should be banned totally. What a tragedy this could have been both for the family and the officer involved if things had turned out differently

  • Jacobsboy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I agree with what they did 100%!! Two calls from the public saying that a man was walking around the neighborhood with a gun. Officer arrives and finds a man walking around with a gun. Parents of this person have to realize that when the public looks at him, they see a man, not a child. He looks normal to me and I would not know any different unless I knew the person.

  • Earl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Who Justin is, his abilities/disabilities, who his family is, the fact they're good people... all irrelevant.

    The police have no way of knowing any of this when they arrive on a scene. Had the 911 caller said, There's a developmentally delayed boy out there with a toy gun the police wouldn't have shown up. But they were told there was an adult with a gun. They treated it like he was an adult with a gun.

    I think it's time for the parents to stop blaming the RNC for acting the way they did, and if they have a problem with the fact that his toy can be mistaken for a real weapon at a distance then they should paint it neon yellow.

  • Curt
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    My Hats off to this RNC Officer,I think he answered the call within the Scope of His Training,jsut put yourself in his situation,an 18 year old has a gun and two or three complaints were called in about this incident,We Lose way too many Police Officers in the line of Duty,across Canada every year,that leaves young Children and a Widow.I Give The Officer Nothing but Praise,the situation could have turned out Very Tragically,but Thanks to the RNC Officers Training and some Excellent Judgement Nobody got hurt or worst than that killed.I have Nothing but Praise for our Officers in the RNC, I think they ddo an Excellent Job to Protect us and Our Property.
    Curt Miller St John`s NL.