BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A teen is shot in the head after police say he pulled a fake gun on a former cop on what police are calling an attempted carjacking. Police are responding to this alarming jump in violent crimes.
Police say a 13-year-old used a fake gun to carjack a man in broad daylight, but the victim fired back with a real weapon.
Police say with the teen’s significant injuries, it’s not the time to think about charging him, and they said preliminarily, the man who shot him appears to have been justified — that there was no way, in that moment, that he could have realized the gun was a fake.
“When referring to this 13-year-old, we need to be reminded that he committed a silly act, and the consequences were substantial,” says T.J. Smith, Baltimore City Police Chief of Communications.
The teen remains hospitalized after police say he, with a group of young people, tried to carjack a 73-year-old former Baltimore police officer in Carroll Park using a replica gun. The former cop shot him in the head.
“If he gets in the position where we charge him with possessing a replica gun, that’s actually a really good day for him because that means he survived, he’s coherent enough to answer the charges,” says Smith.
A witness says the gun looked real and he saw the teenager end up on the pavement after the shooting. He says both boys and girls were in the group with him and many of them ran across the park, hiding in nearby rail cars. As the older man attended to the 13-year-old, he screamed at them, “Why don’t you come back here and help your friend?”
“None of those kids stopped and called 911. They ran and got out of dodge,” says Smith.
“There is something radically wrong with our juvenile justice system,” says former Councilwoman Rikki Spektor.
Just three weeks ago, Spector was punched in the face during a carjacking in Federal Hill, also involving a 13-year-old.
“I know, if they would have gotten my car they would have hurt somebody. They would have killed somebody,” says Spektor.
The number of carjackings in Baltimore City has more than doubled this year with arrests involving juveniles up 70 percent, and adults up 20 percent.
And fake guns have become such a problem, the city council banned them.
A detective shot a teen with a replica gun in April. Police say the Carroll Park tragedy should serve as a lesson.
“It’s not fair that a child has something like that in his hand, and if you’re a parent who knows that a child has it, or if you’re a friend of a parent who knows that a child possesses something like this, do something about it,” says Smith.
Police say there have been almost 400 carjackings in Baltimore City this year. And when it comes to juvenile crime, police say they see the same groups over and over again. Sometimes, adults will get children to commit crimes because they know the sentences won’t be as harsh. However, there’s no evidence that this case was an example of this.
Police have quadrupled the number of detectives investigating robberies and carjackings city-wide.
The teenager remains in critical but stable condition at the hospital. Police say they have been in contact with the family.