BB gun or not, it’s called deadly conduct

December 12, 2012

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Even a BB gun can ruin an otherwise nice day.

Police responded to a 911 call reporting a man in the backseat of a car had pointed a firearm at an employee working in the drive-through window at the McDonald’s on South Morgan Street in Granbury and threatened to kill her shortly before noon on Friday.

Two men and a woman, all Hood County teenagers, were arrested by police in the parking lot of the restaurant, and are facing various charges. However, close inspection of what had “appeared to be” an assault-style rifle revealed that it was a BB gun instead of an actual firearm, according to Police Lieutenant Cliff Andrews. He said the BB gun was a realistic-looking but entirely fake AR-15 style assault rifle.

“It looks exactly like an AR-15 that even our patrol officers carry,” Andrews said. “It looks exactly like an assault rifle, except they had cut the stock.”

It was real enough to make the victim think she didn’t have much longer to live.

“She said her first thought was her kids might not have their mother anymore,” Andrews said. “She was pretty upset. Her hands were shaking, and she was sent home.”

Such an act not only could result in potential eye damage if it discharged a BB, but could also result in extremely grave consequences for the person pointing it.

“If he was to point that (BB) gun at a police officer, he’s liable to be shot,” Andrews said.

The 19-year-old man who was accused of pointing the BB gun at the victim was charged with a Class A misdemeanor count of deadly conduct, Andrews said. That’s a crime that carries a penalty of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000, the lieutenant noted.

The original report indicated that police were told that the man made a verbal death threat when he pointed the gun at the victim, but that story also changed.

“She backed off of that,” Andrews said Monday, explaining that the woman was upset and said she “couldn’t be sure what was said. We heard three different things that were said from the people in the car and from the victim.”

But the deadly conduct charge will stand, Andrews noted.

“It goes to the victim’s perception at the time,” Andrews said.

“Pointing a BB gun could also do some damage. It’s the imminency or threat of serious bodily injury.”

The lieutenant said that some employees at the restaurant indicated they thought they had seen the three there as customers before, but didn’t know who they were.

The man facing the deadly conduct count was also charged with a misdemeanor, possession of under 2 ounces of marijuana.

The woman, age 18, was charged with misdemeanor counts of consumption of alcohol by a minor and open alcohol container. The other male, who is 17, was charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor as well. All three had previous arrests for possession of marijuana, Andrews said.

Asked if the suspect gave officers any explanation for pointing the gun at the woman, the man said it was “just a joke,” according to Andrews, but added that he thought it was “more due to the alcohol and the marijuana.”

Andrews also mentioned that, in some cases, showing a fake gun might prompt someone to pull out the real thing in response.

“Just don’t do it. In this day and age, you never know who’s going to carry a real gun,” Andrews said. “I think it was a very poor choice to make.”

[email protected]|817-573-7066, ext. 254

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