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November 13, 2007
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NY teen with hairbrush, thought to be a gun, fatally shot by police

The Associated Press

Related: But what if it isn’t really a gun?

NEW YORK -- A teenager in a dispute with his mother was shot and killed by police officers when he approached them with what they thought was a gun but later turned out to be a hairbrush, authorities said.

Officers received a 911 call from the teen's mother Monday night, police spokesman Paul Browne said. The 911 operator could hear the teen yelling in the background during the call claiming he had a gun, Browne said.

When officers arrived at the Brooklyn apartment building, they could see the 18-year-old pacing around inside the first-floor apartment. The mother was outside.

The teen's mother had attempted to have him hospitalized earlier in the day, Browne said. He said the teen had a history of mental illness.

The son began screaming from the window at his mother and officers before climbing out of the window and heading toward the officers with a black object in his hand, police said.

The officers ordered him to stop, Browne said. When the teen refused and kept approaching them, they opened fire, he said.

The son was struck by gunfire and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. His identity wasn't immediately released.

Investigators later discovered the object the teen was holding was a hairbrush, Browne said. It was not immediately clear how many shots were fired by officers, he said.

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