March 4, 2020
A couple of 10 year old boys were doing what 10 year old boys do, playing battle with some toy guns. Then someone called the police on them, and next thing the boys knew, they were being tossed into the back of police cars in handcuffs.
The two boys were charged with felony menacing, and forced to do community service, among other things.
A Fort Carson family wants to share their story with others after their 10-year-old son was arrested and charged with Felony Menacing, a Class 5 felony, which has since been expunged.
“They came back over, told me my rights, and told me what was going to happen. They put handcuffs on me, and I got into the car,” 10-year-old Gavin Carpenter said.
The incident happened in July of 2019.
FOX21 exclusively interviewed the 10-year-old. Gavin said he and a friend were playing outside with toys near N. Powers Blvd and Constitution Ave. He said they were playing a version of the video game Fortnite.
“The toy bow was an orange Nerf bow. It didn’t work. Nothing could shoot out of it. Nothing would come out of it. The weapon, well toy I had, had an orange tip. It was also broken and couldn’t shoot anything out of it,” Gavin said.
Gavin stated they pretended to shoot at about 5 to 10 cars until one man stopped. He said he and his friend ran to his friend’s grandparents’ house.
“He slammed his breaks and started reversing as fast as he could,” Gavin said. “He came up and started getting very heated and was very mad. I was at the time, very scared.”
The man called the police. According to the Carpenter family, El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and arrested both Gavin and his friend. He was handcuffed and taken to the Colorado Springs Police Department for mugshots and fingerprinting.
Gavin’s parents, Chris and Stephanie, followed the cars to the police station. They said that night Gavin wasn’t released until 10:30 p.m.
They immediately hired an attorney to help get the charge expunged from Gavin’s record. They were set a court date, and when they arrived, they were taken to a separate room instead of seeing a judge.
“It was just a hard no, that the District Attorney wasn’t going to throw this out,” Gavin’s father Chris said. “That is when we moved into the diversion program.”
The diversion program required Gavin to do community service, submit an essay, and other tasks before the expunge could happen. After 216 days of fighting it, the felony was finally expunged.
EPSO released this statement when we asked about the arrest:
“If anyone is dissatisfied with the actions of any employee of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, they have administrative avenues available to them. We encourage citizens to take advantage of those avenues.“
As Gavin, now aged 11, tells it in an interview with Fox21, he was armed with a Nerf gun equipped with an orange tip, while his friend had a Nerf crossbow; he said both toys were broken and incapable of shooting foam projectiles.
The boy said they pointed their orange-tipped gun and crossbow at five or 10 cars before they encountered an oncoming truck, whose driver slammed on the breaks and went in reverse.
Gavin and his friend ran inside a grandparent’s home, where a Ring doorbell camera captured the furious truck driver’s confrontation with the family.
‘He came up and started getting very heated and was very mad,’ Gavin told the station. ‘I was at the time, very scared.’
The video shared with Fox 21 shows the man, dressed in a plaid shirt and a baseball hat, yelling, ‘I don’t know what kind of gun it is. It was some kind of gun.’
An adult inside the house asks the stranger to ‘watch your mouth, please,’ to which the driver responds, ‘How about I call the f***ing cops?’
The driver made good on his threat and summoned deputies from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, who proceeded to arrest Gavin and his friend.
Both boys, then aged 10, were handcuffed, placed inside patrol cars and taken to the Colorado Springs Police, where they were photographed for mugshots and had their fingerprints taken.
According to his parents, Gavin is now ‘terrified’ of law enforcement and suffers from ‘flashbacks’ of his arrest.
Stephanie Carpenter explained in her post that she has decided to talk publicly about her family’s plight to educate other parents that this ‘could happen to anyone with children.’
She went on to say that the family had plans to settle in Colorado for good after her husband’s eventual retirement from the military, but all that has now changed.
‘I can’t live in a state where my kids can’t be kids and play outside without being scared of being arrested,’ she wrote. ‘I fully believe schools need to be educating children that this is a possibility. Had Gavin known….none of this would have happened.’
Chris Carpenter is scheduled to be relocated to another posting in less than three months, and his wife says the move could not come soon enough ‘as we are all ready to leave.’
She has expressed concern that her son, now aged 11, will spend the rest of his life dealing with ‘the mental repercussions’ stemming from his brush with the law.
Gavin’s mother took to facebook to make this post: