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Should Texas police have used lethal force against a 15-year-old?

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 The parents of Jaime Gonzalez are demanding to know why police officers fatally shot the 15-year-old inside his South Texas school, but police said the boy was brandishing and refused to drop what appeared to be a handgun. (AP)

The shooting death of a 15-year-old boy by Texas police officers is raising questions about the use of lethal force.

Jaime Gonzalez was shot at least twice in the hallway of his middle school in Brownsville, Texas, after pointing what appeared to be a handgun at police officers. It later turned out to be a pellet gun.

The boy's parents are demanding answers, saying police could have used non-lethal methods to disarm their son.

"Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" "Three shots," the boy's father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr., told The Associated Press Wednesday night. "Why not one that would bring him down?"

But Brownsville's interim police chief said his officers had the right to act as they did.

Gonzales "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to," Orlando Rodriguez told The Associated Press.

One CBC community member noted that certain pellet guns appear virtually identical to handguns:

  • "Many of the new pellet pistols look exactly like real handguns, you can not tell if it is a pellet gun or a 9mm until you have it in your hands for a close up inspection." - ibfreakin

Many commenters say the police were right to act as they did, though others thought that given the boy's age, they went too far:

  • "The police had no right to do this! Attitudes really need to change within US & CDN police forces. More training is needed." - Hotman

What do you think? Should police have used alternative methods to disarm Gonzales? Or were they within their rights to use lethal force? Take our survey and let us know in the comments.

(This survey is not scientific. It is based on readers' responses.)

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