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Tense encounter between teen with BB gun, police in Michigan Target ends peacefully

Posted at 9:24 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 11:24:54-04

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) -- A very close call that could've ended tragically when police in Michigan responded to an emergency call of a gunman inside a Target store earlier this month.

Witnesses describe a tense encounter in Madison Heights when a teenager armed with what looked like a real handgun came face to face with police. The young suspect was taken into custody without violence.

Caught on body-camera video, Madison Heights police order a 15-year-old boy armed with a BB gun pistol to give up. Witness Pat Hayes recalls the panic.

“It was very nerve-racking," Hayes said. "At the end of the day, the kid is lucky to be alive.”

The teen, whom we're not identifying because he's a juvenile, allegedly was first spotted out front of the busy store on May 6, then detectives say he went in and ordered a worker to let him out a back door.

Police say it took just seconds for it all to play out, the adrenaline was high and the fear was real.

“The suspect ran into an employee in the rear. He pointed the gun at her and made her let him out,” said Lt. Michael Siladke with Hazel Park police.

Officer-involved shootings have drawn intense scrutiny around the country, but in this case, no shots were fired and no one was hurt as the teen surrendered.

WXYZ learned the BB gun did closely resemble an actual gun and had the orange tip removed. The teen is now charged with felonious assault and obstructing justice.

The boy's mother declined to comment.

In Oakland County, a youth assistance program that offers counseling and mentoring will now also be involved in the case.

“The earlier we can get to kids, and their families, and help, we can break patterns of past behaviors,” said Mary Schusterbauer with Oakland County Youth Assistance.

This story originally reported by Simon Shaykhet on WXYZ.com.