COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) – A Colorado family wants to share their story with others after their 10-year-old son was arrested and charged with felony menacing in July of 2019.
“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.
Gavin said he and a friend were playing outside with toys near N. Powers Blvd and Constitution Ave. in Fort Carson. 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 said 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 brakes 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.
“I told them I had no intention to have scared them or have any threat to their life,” Gavin said.
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. When they arrived for his court date, however, they recalled being 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 do other tasks. After 216 days of fighting it, the felony was finally expunged.
“So if you run his name, nothing will show up, but he did have a class five felony on there for at least half a year,” Chris said.
Both mom and dad agreed this was a learning lesson not only for Gavin but for them as well.
“The kids don’t understand the way the world thinks right now,” Gavin’s mom Stephanie said. “So, they don’t know what we know … they are kids.”
Gavin’s dad has decided since this was all a bit traumatic on Gavin, he is planning some ideas where both of the boys arrested can do some events with police and deputies to help overcome their fears.
“Were trying to establish … a few events to help build trust in law enforcement because it was shattered. We want them to not be scared and show that law enforcement is their friends, and they need to show them the proper respect,” Chris said.
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.“