Teenagers get reprieve after Brac BB gun stunt

| 18/10/2011

(CNS): Three teens were discharged from court on Friday and a fourth given a year’s probation and placed under house curfew until after his exams next summer in connection with a BB gun stunt on Cayman Brac last year. The boys pleaded guilty to attempting to damage property, having admitted they were driving around firing at road signs with a spring loaded Colt BB air gun firing plastic pellets. The youngest boy also admitted possession of an imitation gun and firing it at a passer-by walking along the road side near the island's airport. The gun was not capable of causing any real injury or damage and the judge said he was “not prepared to saddle” three of the young men with a record as he discharged them from the court.

The 16-year-old boy, who was only fourteen at the time of the incident, admitted to firing the air gun at the random passer-by and received one year’s probation with a 7am to 7pm curfew, but the judge gave the teen a four hour pass on Saturday nights. Justice Alex Henderson indicated his actions were more serious than his peers and he also ordered that he not to be found in possession of any imitation weapons during the probation period or to consume alcohol or drugs.

The teen had admitted to being caught up in the bravado of the afternoon’s events when he made the mistake of putting the toy gun out of the window and firing at the passer-by from around 20 feet away but he did not understand the implications of what he had done until later, his defence attorney told the court.

The man was unhurt, but having seen what he believed to be a firearm pointed at him and then hearing the sound of the imitation weapon going off, he had been frightened and at first had believed he had been shot, the court heard during the sentencing hearing. 

The man had reported the incident to the police and described the car, which was discovered at one of the teen’s home shortly after the incident. The teenage boys all confessed to driving around firing at signs and revealed that the 14-year-old was the one with the BB gun that was fired at the passer-by. The imitation firearm was later recovered from the teen’s bedroom and was said to belong to his brother, who was not involved in the incident.

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  1. Alan Nivia says:

    Why no jail time?  This type of leniency will be used by the criminal defence attorneys to keep more ne'er-do-wells out of jail where they belong.

  2. Survivor says:

    I think it's apalling that we cannot own a simple slingshot or bow.   When I was a kid, of course, I didn't consult the oracle of law, and my father showed me how to construct a simple bow, how to fletch arrows, how to make a slingshot.    You know those doves that are everywhere (although in less numbers than the wild chickens)?   Yes.  We ate many of those.  

    Apparently now, those childhood tools are illegal to posess.   What does this have to do with this story?  Simply this.   Kids will be kids.   No, I don't condone the young lads shooting at people or vandalizing property.   Had I been caught doing such a thing as a  young boy, I would've gotten a butt-whipping, and no court would be involved.   As a young boy, the butt-whipping would've left a *cough* lasting impression — much moreso than any half-assed probation. 

    I'll tell you a short story, if you'll bear with me.    my father gave me a BB gun when I was a young lad.   He trained me in the safety procedures, and told me "we don't kill what we don't eat."  Well, one day I shot a small bird, and my Dad told me "good shot.  You'd better build a small fire."    The ramifications of that statement hit me and I started bawling… "I doan wanna eat a bird!"  My Dad told me it was too late for that;   I'd killed it, and I had to eat it.   I had to strip it, clean it and roast it and I DID eat it.    It was a valuable lesson. 

    Where are we now, where those values aren't a part of our culture?   Do we really believe that kids have virtually no parenting, that they will run wild with slingshots and BB guns?   Maybe that's true.   Maybe I'm too old.   I know one thing folks……..  I know that the wild chickens are becoming legion;  Go to any strip mall and see them milling around.   

    Yes, that's my private soapbox, but we should have the ability to take down all those wild fowl.   ………… and yes, we SHOULD eat them.    Dad will probably haunt you if you don't.  

    These boys who did this "crime"………… pfffft.    A butt-whippin' would've been a better punishment.   That would teach a lesson that would carry them forth into adulthood — the lesson that your actions carry repercussions, that you have a responsibility and ownership of what you do.   One of these boys are distant family.   They're not bad kids.   They have good parents.   They were being kids.  

    My point (forgive me, I'm aged) it's not the tools [bb gun], it's the person.    We have to be responsible, and if not, shoulder the consequences.   That message should resonate through government as well.  

    Be well.   Work together.   Educate.   Survive.

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      Section 6 of the Customs (Prohibited Goods) Order (2003 Revision) (G11/2003 s10) reads: “Import of manually operated weapons – The import of bows, catapults or other manually operated weapons which are capable of projecting arrows or other missiles is prohibited, except that such objects may be imported, when accompanied by a permit signed by the Commissioner of Police, by a natural person in connection with his competitive sporting activities or the carrying on by him of activities relating to the cultural or historical aspects of weapons.”



  3. Anonymous says:

    Was no one ever a kid on here?

  4. Anonymous says:

    And then they are surprised when they graduate to more serious crimes.  

    Is anyone thinking about the victim? How scary that must have been for that person?

  5. Just Commentin' says:

    In the case of the "more serious" actions of the 16 year old, the judge in effect "sentenced" the lad to nothing more than behaviour that should rightfully be expected of any teenager regardless: do not drink, no drugs, no going out until late hours on school nights.


    The judge gave the boy a "pass" to stay out until 11PM on Saturdays? Not under my parenting he wouldn't! What is there for a 16 year old to do after 9PM anyway? As older teens, my children had a 9PM curfew on school nights, unless a school, club, or youth meeting kept them later. Unless it was an important school, club or church-related activity they were not allowed out until their homework and study assignments were verified to be complete. If they did sloppy homework, they stayed home and redid it to my satisfaction. Until they went off to college they had a10PM curfew on weekends and holidays unless with members of family, at least one of whom had to be a responsible adult. A rare exemption  was if overnighting at a friend's house or when they attended a club, church, school or other organised field-trip or outing, or a youth camp or church retreat.


    So what was the penalty for these teens' transgressions? What the hell was the judge thinking? No wonder this country is going to hell in a handbasket.


    I am in agreement with 08:44; I am all for not wanting to stigmatise the youths with a criminal record. Perhaps our laws need to be rewritten so meaningful penalties and probation can be meted out and the child's record completely expunged once they fulfill their obligations and/or attain adulthood or they are ready to apply to college.


    Since these boys admitted to having a desire to damage public property at the very least they should have been sentenced to do some type of community service. This was a very, very poor example to set for other wannabee ganstas: "Come on down the wrong path, kids! No problem, mon! Da judges are soft and yah wone even hafta be home by 10 on Satradey."

    • Anonymous says:

      Congrats 17:14 You know why your children were able to go off to college.  It was simple as this – You tried with them.  That all it takes – good parenting!!.  God Bless us all who strive for good parenting.

  6. Anonymous says:

    quote  … "The boys pleaded guilty to attempting to damage property, having admitted they were driving around firing at road signs with a spring loaded Colt BB air gun firing plastic pellets. The youngest boy also admitted possession of an imitation gun and firing it at a passer-by walking along the road side near the island's airport. The gun was not capable of causing any real injury or damage and the judge said he was “not prepared to saddle” three of the young men with a record as he discharged them from the court." …   unquote

    The above seems to be very unfair judgement by that  Judge – he only gave one teen a sentence while the rest go unpunished – does that seem fair to you??  He seems to be encouraging 'unfairness' and setting a very bad example for these other teens!  Did he reprimand them in any way?? I think all of them should receive some sort of punishment because they were all together and could have gotten outof the car if they did not want to be involved.  This is a case where Legal should appeal on grounds of 'unfair treatment' and the parents of these boys should chastise their children and seek to have 'fair judgement' or else that makes them worse than their children!!

  7. Young Caymanian with Concerns says:

    So is it actually illegal to have a non-powered (i.e. spring loaded as the one pictured) in your possession on island? Because let me tell you, I have been in airport customs many times and seen customs agents take these out of travelers bags, inspect them, and return them to the person and they go about their merry way.  If they are illegal, how are they being legally brought into the islands?!

    • Anon says:

      It is also illegal to have a photo of a gun in your possession!

      And please dont let the reading police catch you with a playboy magazine – thats also illegal…

      You need to have clean hands and a pure heart!

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      Re: “So is it actually illegal to have a non-powered (i.e. spring loaded as the one pictured) in your possession on island?”

      Section 44(h) of the Firearms Law (2008 Revision) reads: “This Law does not apply to – any spring gun or spring pistol, spear gun used for the purpose of fishing, bow and arrow, catapult or sling shot, pea-shooter or popgun.”

      • Anonymous says:

        There are replica BB guns imported from China which are assembled with authentic gun parts. They can easily be transformed into real weapons with certain simple changes. I won't go into detail, but I hope Cayman Customs and the RCIPS are aware of this.

        • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

          Doesn’t sound like it is illegal to me, but, I’d like to see and photograph one if you can arrange it.  My cell is 926-0716 and BBM PIN is: 20DAEF5B.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree  with the first comment, once again there is no accountability.  5 yrs probation and then you get a clean record. by that time the boys will be young men age 20/21 and then they can start with a clean record.. lesson learned.

    the way it is going now Just starts their long road in the courts as this taught them nothing. no fine, no time cleaning roads, picking up trash. doing some community service. Soo. there you have it. Again no accountability.. Very sad..



    • Just Commentin' says:

      I cannot agree more!

    • Anonymous says:

      And if it was your child would you want what you just said? I dont think so, be careful it might be yours next.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        As for me: If it was my child and the judge let them off with less than a wrist slap, I would be just as critical as I am of this ridiculously lenient handling of hooliganism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What kind of sound does an imitation weapon make when it goes off? Does a little flag with "bang" on it pop out?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why not make them do community work (for the one who got probation on top of the probation)? Make them sweat in the hot sun – have them pick up garbage or something. Clearly they have too much time on their hands. Send the right message – there are consequences to your actions.

    Did the parents have to payany fines or anyting? Why are they not held accountable???

  11. Anon says:

    Actually in this case I agree with the judge. Back home, BB guns are freely brought and sold without a licence or any checks. You can pick them up in the supermarket. I had one for a couple of years when I was a kid. I shot targets, road signs and even a few friends got a stinging pellet on the butt – they are essentially harmless and unless you get one in the eye, unlikely to really cause any damage or even break the skin. There is world of difference to this type of teenager fun and the type of behavour where you threaten people or use it to attempt to commit a robbery.  

  12. Anonymous says:

    They were tried by Judge alone?

  13. Anonymous says:

    This was a stupid prank and they should be punished accordingly…BUT, courts shouldn't be tied up with BB guns, pellet gun issues – just shows how archaic these laws are. Allow us BB guns and pellet guns…at least we wont have the Iguana / Rooster issue…

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don't think that this sends the right message. I don't have a problem with not labelling a teenager for life because of a stupid prank but there should be a way for them to be given 5 years of probation and if they stay on the straight and narrow then give them a complete discharge. I hope that someone is tracking the results of these lenient sentences because I suspect that in a number of the cases it will prove to be a very bad decision.

    • anonymously says:

      boys will be boys… when i was 10 years old we use to shoot fire rockets at each other in downtown during the pirates week festivities. i recall this police officer guy chasing us one time, and it was fun – we had a thrill of a time!  we wasn't thinking about the dangers or the town & communitry laws. i don't think putting them on a five years probation would do the youngsters any psychological good….  the judge made a fair decision 

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m pretty sure that when you were 10 years old, you didn’t have 5 young men murdered execution style in two weeks. Times have changed my friend! If we don’t hold them accountable for their actions, be active in their lives, give them love and provide a proper education and give them positive alternatives, boys won’t be boys, they have a higher chance of being a gangster.

        • Anonymous says:

          It seems like people are really jumping the gun here, no pun intended.  To go from firing plastic pellets at signs to execution style murder is quite a step.  I know the saying 'boys will be boys' is a bit cliche but these are kids doing stupid kid stuff.  When I was a teen my friends and I would do the same thing and worse and now we are Doctors, Lawyers, business owners and overall productive members of society.  I do think that the kids should have been made to do some community service, and I agree with the year probabtion for the one who shot at a person, but some commentors here seem to be out for blood.


           If you treat boys like boys, they will turn out fine in the end with some guidence and by making them aware of their actions.  If you treat the like gangster thugs, that is what they will grow in to.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not really following this argument, are you saying that they should now be more accountable than someone doing the same thing 20 years ago would have been?

          Its a bit of a leap to go from a kid playing with toy guns to being a ganster, I fancy every kid I played with had a cap gun, spud gun or pellet gun or slingshot and funnily enough none of them have turned into gangsters.

          I did have good role models, as did they, and a healthy fear of authority in its various guises. So I think I'm going to trust the Judge on this one