PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – On Saturday morning, 11-year-old Savannah Lemaster found what sure looked like a gun.
“It was wedged between two garbage bags right there,” Savannah said, as she pointed to an area near the edge of her grandfather’s driveway.
Laying there, flat on the driveway, it stood out.
“My mom, she ran over [to] the garbage bag ’cause it was like, out here. I ran. I looked there and I just ran and told her,” said Savannah.
Her mother, Erikah, called 911. Pasco deputy Creg Bell responded. His conversation with the mother and daughter was caught on his body-worn camera.
“It’s a toy,” Deputy Bell told them.
“Holy shish kabob, it’s fake?” Erikah responds.
“It’s a BB gun,” Bell replies in the video.
The gun is actually a replica of a Beretta 9 millimeter handgun.
“It looked so real to me. I was taken back and I automatically called the Pasco County Sheriff,” said Erikah.
Deputy Bell recognized the BB gun right away. He owns a real Beretta and he told Savannah and her mother how another replica almost caused a traffic stop to turn ugly.
“Somebody reached into a glove box and saw the back of one of those. He reached for it and I almost shot him over it, was a BB gun,” said Deputy Bell.
Deputies who encounter criminals may have far less time than Deputy Bell to determine if a gun is real or a replica.
“It’s all about the appearance and the perception and if they believe that it’s a real gun, they have every right to react as though it is,” said Amy Marinec, with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Toy guns must have an orange-colored tip on the barrel. That is not the case for BB guns.
Erikah is thankful that her daughter did the right thing.
“My parenting actually went into play and she actually listened. So it kind of ya know, it was nice to know that she listens when I talk to her,” she said.
Deputy Bell gave Savannah a badge for not touching the gun.
“If somebody pointed that at me, I think I would have to be concerned. So you did the right thing and I’m very proud of you,” said Deputy Bell.
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