Friday, January 13, 2006


Bang, Bang: Armed Eighth Grader Shot

I can say that 100% of the time, if you point a pellet gun at SWAT officers who believe you have a loaded firearm in your hands, you're going to get shot. Even if you're an 8th grader who went berzerk and flew off the handle.
A nearly hourlong attempt to apprehend a student thought to be carrying a gun at Milwee Middle School near Longwood ended this morning when a member of the Seminole County Sheriff's SWAT team shot the 15-year-old boy.

The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

The boy was rushed by ambulance to Orlando Regional Medical Center. The Sheriff's Office identified the boy as Christopher David Penley of Winter Springs.Penley was on Advanced Life Support, Sheriff Don Eslinger said. An armed SWAT team member rode in the ambulance with the child and walked alongside the stretcher, his rifle strapped across his back, as the boy was wheeled into the hospital.

The victim's condition has not been released. Just after 1 p.m., he was moved to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women & Children, according to a Seminole County deputy at the hospital.

The pellet gun looked so much like a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that SWAT team member Lt Mike Weippert opened fire on the boy when he pointed the gun in the direction of the officer, Eslinger said.

Pellet guns normally have a red or pink barrel, but the barrel of the gun in the hands of the student had been painted black, making it almost impossible to tell the difference between it and a real gun, Eslinger said.
I feel for the family of the kid. No one deserves to lose a child. But I can't say much for the kid, who apparently knew exactly what he was doing. Hindsight is 20/20, so anyone who takes a stab at the SWAT team member for shooting doesn't understand what it's like to be in a situation like that. They were doing their best to keep other kids at the school from getting hurt, and they did a darned good job of it.

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