KERNERSVILLE, N.C. - A Kernersville police officer responded to a report of a person with a gun last month. When Officer Nicole Smith arrived, she spotted a teenager with a gun. She had less than five seconds to decide whether her life or the lives of others were in danger.
"I had my finger on the trigger. I was getting ready to apply the pressure to do what needed to be done," Officer Smith said.
In this case, the teenager dropped the weapon and Officer Smith did not have to fire her gun.
"While he was sitting in the back of my vehicle, he was recorded on my in-car microphone. He said a little prayer that day, 'Dear Jesus, thank you for not letting me get shot today,'" Officer Smith said. "When his father arrived out there, his father started crying and thanked me for not having to come to the hospital to collect his son."
The teenager was carrying a realistic looking fake gun. Kernersville Police Chief Scott Cunningham says this is the third time in the past few months officers have come across fake weapons that look and feel real.
"What we're talking about are devices that are so realistic, they are virtually identical to a real gun. Some are metal or heavy enough to appear real. If they're dropped on the ground, they sound and react like real guns," Chief Cunningham said. "If you confront an officer with one of these guns, you are likely to die. We don't want that."
Why are people buying these fake weapons? Police say, in some cases, it's to intimidate other people. In other cases, it's just for fun or entertainment.
Regardless of the reason for buying a realistic looking weapon, police say, do not take them out in public, because you just might get shot by someone else carrying a real weapon.
Kernersville Police say they wanted to get the warning out to parents and teenagers now, before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.
Follow Mark Geary on Twitter: @MarkGeary
WFMY News 2