10-year-old boys handcuffed and booked after playing Fortnite with toy gun outside

Gavin Carpenter

Gavin Carpenter

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado family wanted to share their story with others after their 10-year-old son was arrested and charged with felony menacing in July 2019.

“They came back over, told me my rights, and told me what was going to happen,” said Gavin Carpenter, 10. “They put handcuffs on me, and I got into the car.”

Carpenter said he and a friend were playing outside with toys near N. Powers Boulevard and Constitution Avenue in Fort Carson, Colorado. He said they were playing a version of the video game Fortnite.

“The toy bow was an orange Nerf bow,” said Carpenter. “It didn’t work. Nothing could shoot out of it. Nothing would come out of it. The weapon, well, toy I had, had an orange tip. It was also broken and couldn’t shoot anything out of it.”

Carpenter said they pretended to shoot at about five to 10 cars until one man stopped. He said he and his friend ran to his friend’s grandparents’ house.

“He slammed his brakes, and started reversing as fast as he could,” said Carpenter. “He came up and started getting very heated, and was very mad. I was, at the time, very scared.”

The man called the police. According to the Carpenter family, El Paso County sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested both Carpenter and his friend. He was handcuffed and taken to the Colorado Springs Police Department for mugshots and fingerprinting.

“I told them I had no intention to have scared them or have any threat to their life,” Carpenter said.

Gavin’s parents, Chris and Stephanie, followed the cars to the police station. They said Carpenter wasn’t released until 10:30 p.m.

They immediately hired an attorney to help get the charge expunged from their son’s record. When they arrived for his court date, however, they recalled being taken to a separate room instead of seeing a judge.

“It was just a hard no, that the district attorney wasn’t going to throw this out,” said Chris Carpenter. “That is when we moved into the diversion program.”

The diversion program required Carpenter to do community service, submit an essay and do other tasks. After 216 days of fighting it, the felony was finally expunged.

“So if you run his name, nothing will show up, but he did have a class five felony on there for at least half a year,” Chris Carpenter said.

Both mom and dad agreed this was a learning lesson not only for their son but for them as well.

“The kids don’t understand the way the world thinks right now,” said Stephanie Carpenter. “So, they don’t know what we know … they are kids.”

Carpenter’s father decided since this was all a bit traumatic on Carpenter, he was planning some ideas where both of the boys arrested could do some events with police and deputies to help overcome their fears.

“Were trying to establish … a few events to help build trust in law enforcement because it was shattered,” said Chris Carpenter. “We want them to not be scared and show that law enforcement is their friends, and they need to show them the proper respect.”

EPSO released this statement when we asked about the arrest:

“If anyone is dissatisfied with the actions of any employee of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, they have administrative avenues available to them. We encourage citizens to take advantage of those avenues.“

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