RPA student, 12, shoots another with Airsoft gun

Pellet hits nose, minor injury; 3 may be disciplined

REDMOND, Ore. - A disagreement between two Redmond Proficiency Academy students led a 12-year-old boy to go home and return with an Airsoft gun, police said. After bicycling back to the school's track area after school last Thursday, he fired a pellet that struck another student near the nose, causing a minor injury, police and school officials said over the weekend.

While Airsoft guns are not classified as a firearm or a dangerous weapon, but a replica, three students may face disciplinary action for their role in the incident, RPA Executive Director Jon Bullock said in a note sent to parents, students and staff.

The student struck by the pellet did not require any medical attention, Bullock said – but he made clear that the incident was being taken very seriously.

"Student safety is a top priority at RPA, and state law prohibits the use and possession of any kind of firearm or dangerous weapon on all school property, even after the school day," Bullock wrote.

"Although an Airsoft gun may not meet the legal definition of a firearm, RPA believes that it is a dangerous weapon that has no place on a school campus and will take action based on that belief," he added.

Airsoft guns are considered replica firearms that fire plastic pellets, by way of compressed gas or electric and/or spring-driven pistons. Most have a bright orange tip to indicate to onlookers that they are not real guns, but police confrontations have occurred on occasion around the country, sometimes with deadly results.

The incident that involved two 12-year-old boys occurred after school at RPA's West Campus, at 2105 W. Antler Avenue, said police Sgt. Curtis Chambers.

About an hour after classes let out, Bullock said, the sixth-grader returned to the track area with the Airsoft gun, having picked it up at home.

Two other students were in the track area, and one was struck by a pellet from the Airsoft gun, the school leader said. The student who was hit reported the incident to RPA officials, and Bullock said they immediately notified Redmond police, who interviewed all three students.

Curtis said Saturday that police notified the parents and all parties involved. While no arrests were made, he said, the reports on the incident were sent to the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office for further review.

Bullock noted that the incident occurred outdoors on the northwest side of the campus, well away from the main building, and that no other students or staff were ever in any kind of danger.

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