Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis. Image: AP

A teenager carrying a BB gun who was nonfatally shot by a Baltimore police detective Wednesday said “It’s not real” before the detective opened fire, according to one eyewitness. The boy’s mother identified him to the Baltimore Sun as 14-year-old Dedric Colvin.

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis told reporters yesterday that two plainclothes detectives were driving down E. Baltimore Street when they spotted a boy carrying what Davis identified as a “replica semiautomatic pistol.” The detectives exited their car, identified themselves as officers, and told the boy to stop, he said. Colvin began running; the detectives chased him for about 150 yards, and one of the officers shot him twice in his lower body. He is expected to survive the injuries, police said. Davis has not shared the detectives’ names with the press.

The timing of the shooting was eerie. On the same day, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a rally across town, in East Baltimore, to mark the one-year anniversary of protests and riots that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.

Davis said he had “no reason to believe that these officers acted inappropriately whatsoever,” and noted the realistic appearance of the gun the boy was carrying. “I looked at it myself today, I stood right over top of it, I put my own eyes on it,” he said. “It’s an absolute, identical replica semiautomatic pistol. Those police officers had no way of knowing that it was not, in fact, an actual firearm. It looks like a firearm.” A photograph of the gun, which the Sun identified as a Daisy’s PowerLine Model 340, confirms this: it looks exactly like the real thing.

But an eyewitness account given to the local NBC affiliate WBAL complicates the commissioner’s contention that there was no way for the detective to know the gun wasn’t real:

A witness, who identified himself as Bryan, said he saw the shooting as he was in his truck on Baltimore Street. The first thing he claims he saw was the boy running, drop a basketball he was carrying and then he saw to people chasing him.

“(The teen) turned towards them but he wasn’t turning the gun towards them and I’m positive I heard him say, ‘It’s not real,’” Bryan said.

Bryan said police yelled at the teen to drop the gun as they approached him before he motioned the gun upward, not toward the officers.

“He said, ‘It’s not real. It’s not real,’ and that quick, the male officer shot him twice in the leg,” Bryan said.

Bryan told WBAL that he contacted police about what he witnessed, and that he has not heard back.