A group of Pasco County teens face charges of assault with a firearm after pointing a replica gun at an off-duty police officer.
Pasco deputies say on Saturday a group of five 16- and 17-year-olds were riding in a car together and pointed a replica Sig Sauer at another vehicle. Replicas typically have an orange cap on the end, but the cap had been removed from this one, making it appear like the real thing.
The replica is capable of shooting pellets - similarly to an Airsoft gun.
"We got the distinct impression that this was just a prank they thought this would be funny and this would get a rise," said Capt. Michael Jenkins.
However, inside the other car was an off-duty Pinellas Park officer and his wife.
Soon after, the teens' fun would come to an end when deputies pulled them over.
"In a situation like this, we do have individuals who have firearms, who lawfully carry concealed weapons. Those juveniles are fortunate they were not shot and killed," Capt. Jenkins said.
"They were stupid kids, goofing around," said Jon Courtney.
Courtney's son was one of the kids in the car. He says his son had no knowledge of the replica gun and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"My hope is he's going to make better choices as to who he's friends with especially with kids he doesn't know," Courtney said.
All five teens are charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. One was charged with having drug paraphernalia
"I am concerned because he wants to be a police officer and him having a record like this could destroy that," said Courtney.
Deputies say a second airsoft gun without the orange cap was found in the car along with a mask. The teens could be charged as adults, that's up to the State Attorney's office.
"We have to start looking at this for what they are - just some stupid kids one pulls out a toy," Courtney told FOX