MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- FOX6 News has learned the gun carried by an 18-year-old man shot by a Milwaukee police officer this past weekend was an Airsoft gun. The suspect survived, but this case is an example of how a phony gun can cause real problems for law enforcement officials.
The officer-involved shooting occurred on Saturday, February 21st near 10th and Concordia. The 18-year-old man was shot by a 21-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department.
Around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, the Milwaukee Fire Department was called out to the scene for a medical emergency. Investigators say while they were treating a patient, they realized there was an on-going violent encounter happening and they called police. When police arrived, they say they secured the safety of others inside the home. While searching the home for the suspect, police say the 18-year-old man pointed a long gun at an officer. That officer fired, hitting the man.
Police say the 18-year-old man is receiving treatment at the hospital. He will be referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for charges.
Meanwhile, police say this incident reinforces the real dangers that even a fake gun can bring.
"Over the years we've seen, during violent crimes, after the fact, that the assailant had a BB gun, a pellet gun, a replica, a plastic gun," Brian Dorow said.
Dorow trains police officers at Waukesha County Technical College. He says BB guns, pellet guns and Airsoft guns can be strikingly similar to Glock 40s -- the weapons issued to many law enforcement officials, and even though they are fake, they can look very real.
"These guns look identical to real guns. In that officer's mind, that is a real gun. That is a deadly force situation that is presented," Dorow said.
These fake weapons -- BB guns, pellet guns and Airsoft guns have grown in popularity, and there is no permit required, and no waiting period to get one. Anyone can walk into a sporting goods store and walk out with one of these guns. And even though they're fake, the look of the weapon can be enough to frighten victims and police officers alike when they're in the hands of a criminal.
In the case of last Saturday's officer-involved shooting, Milwaukee police say the Airsoft gun the 18-year-old suspect allegedly had resembles an assault rifle. It doesn't have the same fire power, but it could have easily resulted in the 18-year-old suspect's death.
The Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating this officer-involved shooting. The officer involved remains on administrative duty as the investigation continues.
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