Police officer says Pittsburgh boy, 6, tried to take his gun, then bit him

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A 6-year-old boy who police stopped for trying to steal bicycles with some friends attempted to take an officer's gun and then bit him, police said.

According to a police report, Officer Paul Abel was called to the 2000 block of Straubs Lane before 7 p.m. Friday for a report that two men had stopped three children who had stolen bicycles out of a backyard.

Zone 1 Cmdr. RaShall Brackney said Officer Abel bent down to speak to the child. The boy karate-chopped him, disconnecting the top of the officer's holster, and then used both hands to try to grab the officer's gun, she said.

Officer Abel, who did not respond to a request for comment, wrote in his report that he lifted the boy in the air and the boy kicked and screamed at him, while keeping his hands on the officer's gun. He put the boy in the back of his patrol car.

"I stepped away to regain my composure because I was in disbelief of what happened," Officer Abel wrote in the report.

While Officer Abel was talking to others at the scene, he heard a loud banging sound and then saw the boy kicking the windows of the patrol car, police said. Officer Abel wrote that he opened the door to the police car to talk to the boy and "he launched his body at my right hand and bit into my hand breaking the skin. I attempted to pull my right hand free, but [the boy] held on to my hand with his teeth."

The officer tried to handcuff the boy and ended up using a maneuver to take him to the ground, police said.

Medics took the boy to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and then to Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where police attempted to have him involuntarily committed.

The boy's father said he did not witness the incident but heard from his son that the boy was trying to shake the officer's hand or give him a high-five, not take the gun.

Mr. Ramey said his son does not have mental health problems, and "he's a little traumatized" by the interaction.

Because of his age, the boy does not face charges, the commander said.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.


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