A plainclothes Baltimore police officer shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy carrying a BB-gun replica of a semiautomatic handgun as he ran from detectives.

The teen is expected to survive wounds to his lower extremities, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

Two detectives, driving down the street, had spotted the teen walking with what looked like a handgun, Davis said, and so they approached him. "They identified themselves as police officers to this young man, [and] the young man took off on foot with the gun in his hand," Davis said.

The officers chased the teen for about 150m before one of them fired at him in the area of the unit block of Asquith Street, police said.


Davis defended the officers' actions, remarking on how much the BB gun looks like a Beretta semiautomatic. "I put my own eyes on it. It's an absolute, identical replica semiautomatic pistol," Davis said. "Those police officers had no way of knowing that it was not an actual firearm."

The officers, he said, "engaged a person who they believed had a gun. ... That's what cops do."

It was not clear why the boy ran from police.

The shooting occurred a year to the day after the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died on April 20, 2015, of injuries suffered in police custody. The day of the funeral, protests and some acts of violence escalated into unrest that saw businesses burned, widespread looting, clashes with police and citywide curfews.