PLAINFIELD, IL -- Plainfield, Illinois, police want every parent to see some look-alike weapons that were mistaken for real guns when officers encountered three teenagers carrying them.
Three Plainfield police officers responded to reports of armed men in camouflage running around next to a church on July 3.
"We deal with kids with Airsoft guns, but the circumstances behind this is what really made this, almost a terrible tragedy all the way around," said Cmdr. Kevin Greco, Plainfield Police Department.
Police eventually encountered the battle-dressed teens - one 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds - apparently playing a war game in a wooded area off Route 59.
"Twenty yards away, tall grasses, camouflage, 6-foot individual. So we're not dealing with a small kid here," Greco said.
When asked what made the officer decide not to shoot, Greco said: "Sheer luck. And a sense that he said he actually thought for a split-second, 'this could be an Airsoft gun,' so then he yelled out again, 'Drop the gun, drop the gun.'"
Greco said the responding officer - a senior firearms instructor - apprehended two of the teens, and the third took off into the woods.
"The teens themselves obviously made some poor decisions on where they chose to play this," Greco said.
Cmdr. Greco said the officers were shaken by the incident. Plainfield police said the kids were given $75 citations for disturbing the peace, a non-criminal violation.
Plainfield police warn teens with fake guns risked getting shot