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Boy 8 Faces Charges
For Pointing Toy Gun

Saturday, March 2, 2002
By LIZ COBBS  -  NEWS STAFF REPORTER

An 8-year-old Whitmore Lake boy is facing criminal charges for pointing a toy gun at three other youngsters and threatening to shoot them.

Even though the incident involved a toy gun, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office said, Tommy Davis' intent was to threaten and scare the other children. The boy, who was 7 at the time of the incident, has a hearing on three felonious assault charges next week in Washtenaw County Juvenile Court.

"I think it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," said Lisa Davis, Tommy's mother. "This is a waste of taxpayers' money. I didn't think it was against the law to have a toy gun. Doesn't the police department have anything better to do than to take complaints from kids who have a dispute with other kids?"

Davis said her son had several run-ins with one of the children before the Dec. 6 incident that occurred after school in their Northfield Estates Mobile home community park.

Northfield Township Police Lt. Dennis Gruschow said the age of an individual does not prevent an investigation when a complaining witness wants to pursue prosecution.

"The police department must investigate allegations of any type of criminal offense," Gruschow said. "We turn over what we have to the prosecutor's office and they make the call on whether to charge an individual."

Children as young as 7 can be charged based on a Michigan Court of Appeals decision, said Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Donald Ray, who heads the prosecutor's office at Juvenile Court.

The court holds that a child under 7 is not able to form an intent to commit a crime, but a 7-year-old child can form the intent and therefore can be charged.

Tommy told The News that on the day of the incident, he and a friend were riding their bikes to another part of the mobile home park when he saw the three children. He said he took the gun out of his pocket.

"I just pointed the gun at them," he recalled this week. "I don't know if I said anything bad at them, but they got scared."

A Northfield Township police report said the three children, two of whom were 7 and one 6, were on Turquoise Drive, near Barker Road, when Tommy Davis "pulled out a gun and pointed it at them and said he was going to shoot them."

Tommy Davis, according to the report, said he never told the children he was going to shoot or kill them, but did tell one of them, "don't fight me anymore."

An adult resident driving by saw a child pull a gun "from underneath his jacket and point it at the other children," the report said. The witness saw one child lying on the ground and another with hands raised in the air. When the child with the gun saw the adult, he ran away. The witness, who went over to the children, said one was "crying hysterically saying he was going to shoot us."

Tommy Davis is charged with three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. For adults, the maximum penalty for the charge carries up to four years in prison. For juveniles, it's up to the judge's discretion.

Ray said the boy could get anything from probation to a stay in juvenile detention.

Liz Cobbs can be reached at [email protected] or by calling (734) 994-6810.

2002 Ann Arbor News. Used with permission

Copyright 2002 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

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