Saturday, January 2, 2010

Police Shoot Man with Toy Gun

The San Francisco Chronicle's SF Gate reports on another case of police shooting someone with a toy gun.

The man shot by Vallejo police on Wednesday while allegedly brandishing a handgun turns out not to have been involved in the robbery that brought officers to the scene in the first place, Vallejo police said.

A Vallejo police statement released Thursday also said Dennis James Merrida, 37, was carrying a replica firearm rather than a live weapon when a squad car pulled up near him at the corner of Lemon and Sheridan streets in response to a robbery call.

Merrida was shot in the upper body and transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he remains in stable condition. He is in custody for a parole violation and will be charged with brandishing a weapon and "resisting an executive officer in performance of their duties," according to the statement.

The officer who shot Merrida will be on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Now I have to say it's become official. The number of these incidents, cops shooting toy-gun holders has surpassed reports of DGUs. I realize we're talking about the main stream media, and they generally like only DGUs by octogenarians, but still, numbers don't lie.

In all fairness, I must admit this phenomenon is probably more prevalent around Christmas when so many people receive their toy guns as gifts from Santa.

By the way is there a difference between a "replica firearm" and a toy gun? Either way, the cops are a bit out of control, don't you think?

Please leave a comment.


  1. "Either way, the cops are a bit out of control, don't you think?"

    No. The cops did the same thing I would do if I were in their shoes.

    It sounds like a Merrida was campaigning for a Darwin Award. Sadly, he didn't win it. That would have been one less idiot walking around.

    The moral of the story is, if the cops tell you to put the gun down, you put it down. And you definitely don't point the thing at them.

  2. I've noticed something about most of the cops that I talk to (and I talk to a fair number of them). They are very good at compartmentalizing--up to a point.

    When they are dealing with distraught parents of missing children or elderly folks that are found, confused, wandering around the downtown shops, they tend to very compassionate and helpful. When they sense a threat they become very different people. The biggest problem, of course, is that some of them see most of their fellow humans as threatening.

    As to toy guns v "replicas", I suppose that the replicas are designed to be indistinguishable from genuine weapons in terms of weight, finish and the like. They are (I hope) impossible to actually fire. I haven't seen them around here, but in a few places I've been in the last ten years I've seen signs that warn people that brandishing a gun or a reasonable facsimile of one will be treated as threatening behavior.

  3. "Now I have to say it's become official."

    Care to enlighten us as to your definition of "official," Mike? I get the impression that yours, just like your definition of "eye witness" is a bit different from . . . every other English speaker's.

  4. Zorro, Sometimes I exaggerate for emphasis. Do you ever do that? Then some other times I use a little thing called humor or satire. How about those? Are you familiar with them?

    I'd guess you're perfectly familiar with all these concepts and many other literary devices, but when you're in contentious mode you choose to make believe they don't exist or that you didn't get them so you can argue. The problem is you're then arguing about the wrong things. It's like picking a fight about something unimportant in order not to deal with the central issue. You contentious guys like to do that, and as tireless as you are, it's a good trick.

  5. You keep accusing me of being what amounts to deliberately obtuse--of pretending, in other words, not to recognize that you don't really mean what you say when you make various of your odd statements, despite my being fully aware that you're just . . . kidding, or something. Whether you choose to believe it, or not, though, I'm not just deliberately being an asshole (I can manage that without effort, thank you very much)--I really am baffled when you say things like your opinion is "official," or that someone who finds a body is an "eye witness."

    Those things don't really strike me as being any sillier than your "10% theory," for example, or your "guns are bad for women," which I am under the impression you actually meant to be taken seriously.

  6. Now I have to say it's become official. The number of these incidents, cops shooting toy-gun holders has surpassed reports of DGUs

    And you're basing this assertion on what exactly?

    Proof please. Back up what you say.

    You're not "exaggerating for emphasis" you're making a claim that is not factual.

  7. FishyJay, That's a great description of cops, the way they compartmentalize.

    Mike W. and Zorro, When I said "Now I have to say it's become official," it was a joke not an exaggeration. I wish you guys would lighten up a bit.

  8. Mikeb; "FishyJay, That's a great description of cops, the way they compartmentalize."

    I believe that was democommie, not I

  9. "It was a joke not an exaggeration. I wish you guys would lighten up a bit."

    Like I've said before, Mike, if not for your long history of saying--and apparently meaning--equally ridiculous things, it might be easier to tell when you're kidding.

  10. Zorro, I am completely serious about the "Famous 10%" and about the "Guns are bad news for women." Although you may find those as ridiculous as some of my jokes, I'd bet your powers of discernment are up to the task.

  11. Well your "10%" and "guns are bad for women" claims are backed up by just as much as the comment here that you now claim was a joke, so yes, it's hard to tell when you're joking or just saying something stupid.

  12. Mike, I realize you're completely serious about those other . . . theories (to be generous)--which is the source of the confusion. They don't make any more sense--don't have any more basis in fact and rationality--than your jokes.

    As a corollary, your jokes are . . . well let's just say I'd rather see you do a stand-up comedy routine than to see you have any power to influence American gun policy, but that's about the only nice thing I can come up with to say about your attempts at humor.

  13. Zorro, I'm as mercenary as the next guy. If Saturday Night Live contacts me before the Joyce Foundation does, I'm gone, man.

  14. Do you think most people could distinguish between a gun and a somewhat realistic toy fast and reliably enough to not get shot if it is real, but not shoot if it is a toy?

    (Mike--I wrote a much longer version of this idea. Did I lose track and neglect to post it, or did you reject it?)

  15. Sevesteen, I never rejected any comment of yours. I've never even considered such a thing. And that says more about you than it does about me. (You hear that Mike W.)