Ramsey cautions parents after toy gun incident; risks and buybacks reported

The Philadelphia Police Department frequently releases surveillance videos on YouTube, hoping that the public will help them solve crimes, often involving guns.

A video posted Thursday — and shown above — says that police were “looking to identify three suspects who assaulted a 27 year-old-male with a handgun,” describing “Suspect #1” as a “10-12 years-of-age, 4’9″, thin build.”

NBC10 is now reporting that the child — escorted by his parents — turned himself into police Thursday evening but was later released, according to the authorities who determined that the gun was a toy.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey tells CBSPhilly it was fortunate no one was hurt, and called the incident a reminder to parents to be careful if they buy their children a toy gun that looks real.

“If you’re confronted with a gun that looks real, you just don’t have a chance to determine if it’s made by Colt or Mattel.”

Instead of replicas, Ramsey recommends the bright orange or yellow plastic guns that are clearly toys.

According to the International Health & Epidemiology Research Center: ” Toy weapons are increasingly being used to commit real crimes, and more children are being killed when a toy gun is mistaken for a real gun, or a real gun for a toy.” The report lists more the 70 incidents which resulted in more than 50 people getting shot, including 15 children who were killed in cases involving toy guns.

A St. Louis paster recently lead a toy gun buyback, concerned that children may “get a distorted view of what those can do to the human body.”

Earlier this month in Buffalo, dozens of children took the opportunity to exchange a toy gun for a new, nonviolent toy such as a basketball or soccer ball. “The purpose was to show kids that a toy gun today can be a real gun tomorrow,” accordion to a report in the Buffalo News.

Earlier this year in New York, a three-year-old boy died from a shot to the head as he and his sister played with a pink handgun they thought was a toy.

Though police are 100-percent sure the gun was a toy this week in Philadelphia, according to 6ABC, they say charges could still be filed. That will be decided by the District Attorney.