17-year-old killed by Grandview police was carrying BB gun, not real handgun, officials say

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GRANDVIEW, Mo — New developments have surfaced concerning a police shooting from this past weekend.

On Friday, Jackson County prosecutors said the teenager that Grandview police shot was carrying a BB pistol instead of a real handgun.

Losing Lantz Stephenson Jr. has left his family in a state of disbelief. Authorities originally said the 17-year-old was carrying a real handgun

The incident from Sunday took place in Meadowmere Park where officers approached Stephenson during a standoff. They’d received a 911 call of an apparent suicidal person who was armed. Officers said when Stephenson pointed that gun at them, they shot him.

A firearms expert told FOX4 that BB guns and other training guns are often manufactured with bright colors or large indicators, but often times, gun owners change the firearm’s appearance.

Don Pind, who operates Claycomo Shooters, a popular Northland gun range, showed FOX4 a real handgun as well as a BB pistol painted to look like one. The appearances are very similar, especially to the naked eye.

“The kids are modifying these things to look real because they want their friends to think they’re carrying a real gun. This way, they can carry a toy and really not get into trouble for it unless they pull it on somebody,” Pind said.

Police officers in nearby Kansas City, Missouri, said they recommend owners of BB guns to leave the gun’s appearance as it comes from the manufacturer. 

Funeral services for Stephenson are scheduled for next Friday. His father, Lance Stephenson Sr., said he believes his son got the BB gun online, and he wasn’t sure if the teenager had changed the appearance of the gun.

“I can’t really accept any reason,” Stephenson Sr. told FOX4 via text, when asked about why police chose to use lethal force. “His cry for help should end thusly.”

Stephenson Sr. also indicated the family will likely pursue legal action against the Grandview Police Department.

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