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Man With Dissasembled Airsoft Gun Shot In Head By Police

January 10, 2014

Police mistake partially disassembled toy with orange tip for real firearm

Newly released information has shed light on the Sunday death of a Yakima, Wash. man who was shot and killed in his vehicle after police mistook his dissembled airsoft gun for a real firearm.

According to statements from Department Spokesman Capt. Rod Light, Yakima Police Officer Casey Gilette observed a “suspicious” vehicle parked outside a 24-hour car wash while on a routine 3 a.m. patrol.

After reportedly surveying the situation for one hour, Gilette decided to approach the vehicle, occupied by 23-year-old Rocendo Arias.

“Approached on foot on the driver’s side, moved around the vehicle to the passenger side of the vehicle,” Light explained to the KNDU News.

Instead of knocking on Arias’ window to further investigate the situation, Light admits the officer swung the passenger side door open without informing the driver. After noticing the disassembled gun, Gilette fired four shots, striking Arias once in the head.

“It appeared that he had some accessories to the handgun that he was trying to install on it or put pieces of this gun together,” Capt. Light said.

The airsoft gun, which shoots plastic pellets, reportedly had a bright orange plastic tip as well, used to clearly identify the item as a toy.

“I believe this particular handgun had an orange tip. But based on our investigation I don’t want to go into particulars and details of the position of the gun and where the officer was,” Light said.

Despite the toy being partially disassembled, Light appeared to defend the officer’s actions, claiming that Arias had his hand on the section containing the trigger.

“The deceased had the weapon not only in his hand, but he also had his finger on the trigger,” Light said.

According to Light, Gilette declined to be interviewed for 48 hours after the shooting, a right given to officers by the local police union contract.

Shortly after an investigation was opened by Gilette’s own department, Police Chief Dominic Rizzi Jr. spoke out in support of the officer’s actions as well.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, I absolutely stand behind the officer and his actions in the shooting that occurred,” Rizzi said.

A check of court records by the Yakima Herald revealed Arias to have no felony convictions. Gilette was placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

Despite children peacefully playing with toy firearms for generations, a recent string of officer-involved shootings involving toy guns has sparked debate.

Following last year’s fatal shooting of a 13-year-old California boy carrying a replica rifle, gun control groups have attempted to pass tightening regulations on similar toys, in what some see as an attempt to shift blame.

CREDIT TO: Mikael Thalen /

This post originally appeared at Story Leak


  1. “I stand by the murder of an innocent man with a toy gun, who was minding his own business and had done nothing wrong.”- Police dept

  2. “Based on the preliminary investigation, I absolutely stand behind the officer and his actions in the shooting that occurred,” Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi told the Yakima Herald.

    That tells you everything you need to know about that PD. He stands behind a man who without a warrant entered a man’s car, a breach of this now dead man’s 4 amendment right and shot and killed a man holding a disassembled air soft gun without assessing weather or not there was even a real threat, without calling for back up, without identifying the man and without giving him a chance to place this so called threat down. And what do they have to say in there defense? It was dark, it was 3am in the morning. To me that is even more damming. If it was that dark and you could tell if there was a real gun or not, why did you nor retreat to your squad car and call for help? Out right murder and he stands behind this man. Thug murdering criminals, all of them. I hope they rot in hell. We got a bunch of want to be Billy bad a.. running around here with guns killing people at the drop of a hat. how many people have to die like this before we get these thugs out of law enforcement? Can you not see what they’re doing? Do you not see what they have become. They are a direct threat to our lives. Do you even have any idea how many times this has happened in the past 2 years. Start putting these cops on death row and this will stop, don’t and they will keep right on killing us. A cop with a badge has become no more than a murderer with a get out of jail free card. A licenses to kill. Is this what you want?

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