Stefanie Carpenter took to Facebook to share the story of her 10-year-old son Gavin, who was arrested last July for playing outside with a fake gun, and directing his toy at nearby traffic. Carpenter said she waited 217 days because she wanted to have the Class 5 felony charge of menacing expunged from Gavin's record before coming forward.
"We waited to tell our story until now because we had to wait until this was expunged from his record," Carpenter wrote. "The less people that knew the better until this nightmare was officially over."
On July 24, Gavin was waiting at his grandparents' house, and planned on heading over to his friend's house for a sleepover later that day. In the meantime, Gavin and his friend decided to imitate Fortnite outside with a broken orange-tipped Nerf gun that couldn't fire anything. They pointed their toy weapons at cars as they drove by, causing one driver to abruptly stop and reverse his vehicle to confront the kids.
The angered driver called the police on Gavin and his friend following a tense interaction captured on the grandparents' doorbell camera, where he threatened to notify authorities. Gavin was cuffed and escorted into the back of a cop car before his parents arrived.
Despite his parents' best efforts to have the charge against their son immediately expunged from his record, deputies from the El Paso County Sheriff wouldn't budge. Gavin was forced to go into the diversion program where he would be required to fulfill a number of tasks, including community service, and submitting an essay, to have a clean slate.
While the parents were ultimately satisfied with having Gavin pay the price for his mistake, the arrest has apparently left him fearful of the police, which warrants its own conversation. "This is an extremely hard post to write as this has affected our whole family immensely," Carpenter wrote. "Especially our Gavin, who is terrified of law enforcement now and occasionally has flashbacks of the terrifying event."
Carpenter plans on having Gavin participate in events that will help him build trust in law enforcement. The ordeal has left Stefanie and her family so shook that they are considering moving out of the state. "I thought Colorado would be the state that we came back to as a family after Chris retires from the military," she wrote. "But after all of this it is confirmed we do not want to EVER come back to this state."