Three children, including one who displayed what appeared to be a handgun on a Facebook video, have been identified after the controversial post was widely circulated, Chicago police said Monday.
The video, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times as of Monday night, is titled "Kids In Chicago carrying Real Guns For Protection 'Grown Man Gets More Then He Bargain For.'"
The children can be seen in the video that prompted outrage over one of the boys exposing a handgun in his jacket while being taunted by an older man driving a car and filming the video. The children and the man shout gang slogans and taunt one another.
Police in the city’s 7th District in the Englewood neighborhood were informed of the incident Monday, according to Police News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney. Officers were given pictures of the three children seein in the video “brandishing an apparent firearm.” Police found the parents of the juveniles, who said they were aware of the video.
“Officers learned that the juveniles were in possession of a toy gun in the video and the replica firearm was then located and recovered by officers,” Sweeney said.
In the video, a man drives a car through a parking lot where the children are walking. The man filming exchanges insults and threats with the kids before one of the children flashes a gun--later determined by police to be a replica.
A man off camera can be heard yelling that one of the boys has a gun.
“Look, he’s got a gun!” the unidentified man filming the exchange laughs. He then asks to see “that cap gun,” to which the child responds “it ain’t no cap gun.”
At one point the man says “I’ll blow them Chuck Taylors off his a--” in reference to one of the children.
The man then seems to take a more jovial tone with the kids before asking to see the gun again multiple times.
“This live, I’m gonna delete it, show ‘em the joint,” the man says, asking one of the kids to show the gun again.
“You’re gonna delete it?” the boy asks, before pulling the gun partway from his coat pocket.
It is unclear what happened before the video starts, if the man and the children knew one another, or how the encounter began.
The post was shared more than 22,000 times.
Thousands of comments range from the encouraging to the incredulous below the Facebook post.
“It's hard out here I respect these kids my kids will know how to bare[sic] arms if I lived in the hood,” one commenter writes.
“This exactly why I won't raise my kids in Chicago or any other city like Chicago the environment plays a big role in kids life this right here is,” on commenter ruminates.
“This is one child,” another user says. “He does not represent all children in Chicago. This is not the norm. But keep glorifying nonsense and it will become the norm.”
Other commenters made mention of a string of recent robberies reportedly involving a boy as young as 6 years old who police said was armed with a handgun.
The video is not the first time social media and fake firearms have drawn the attention of the Chicago police.
Last March, police were investigating an man's apparent selfie with a toddler clutching what appeared to be a firearm.