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Eight-year-old pepper sprayed by cops: Officers made "great" choice, says police spokesman

When Aidan's in a good mood, the eight-year-old is personable, friendly, a charmer. But when he's not, he's capable of terrifying any adult, including professionals trained in dealing with unruly children. That's the conclusion of Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis, who praises officers for defusing a dangerous situation by pepper-spraying Aidan in the face.

The story comes to us courtesy of 9News, which obtained a police report on a February 22 incident at Glennon Heights Elementary, presumably from Aidan's mom, who appears with her son in a segment on view below. Davis emphasizes that the document isn't publicly available due to the subject's age.

Although Davis can't talk about the report's specifics, including the 9News assertion that police had been called to deal with Aidan on two previous occasions, he offers additional details about what took place, and the risks involved.

"You had people in danger," he emphasizes. "You had teachers who had barricaded themselves into an office because they were so frightened of this child. The child was making threats that he was going to kill them and he was ramming the door of the office they were in with a push cart, trying to get to them. And as we were responding, the information we got clearly indicated that there were people who were very fearful of him, and they wanted us to get there in a hurry to take care of the situation."

By the way, the cart to which Davis refers previously held a television, which Aidan allegedly tossed to the ground. He is also said to have been throwing chairs before the teachers took refuge in the office and called police.

When officers arrived at the school, Davis continues, "the child was armed with a piece of wood described as being twelve to fifteen inches in length and sharpened to a point, and he was using it as a weapon. The officers told him they were there because of what was going on and to drop the piece of wood -- I've heard it described as either a piece of trim or a piece of paneling -- and he didn't. He held it up to the officers and was threatening them with it."

In response, Davis goes on, "one of the officers pulled out the pepper spray and tried to squirt it, and the child blocked it with a cardboard box. So the officer reached around the box and squirted once -- and the child dropped the long piece of wood and the cardboard box and the situation was defused."

Was this the only alternative? No, Davis concedes -- but in his view, it was the best one.

A banner from the Glennon Heights Elementary website.
A banner from the Glennon Heights Elementary website.

"Of all the tools the officers had at their disposal -- a Taser, a nightstick -- I believe they not only made a great choice, but the absolutely perfect choice in ending the situation," he says. "People ask, 'Couldn't you have just grabbed the kid?' But he's about eighty pounds, and very capable of doing some damage. And we're not only concerned about the safety of other people in that school, but also the eight-year-old's safety -- and I think the chances of injury would have gone up tremendously if we had gone hands-on with him. But other than the burning sensation of the pepper spray, which was washed off and quickly neutralized, there were no injuries to anyone."

See the video on the next page...

Aidan's mother feels differently. She sees the pepper-spraying as excessive, maintaining that police in the two previous instances were able to talk him down.

At this point, Aidan is no longer attending Glennon Heights. Instead, he's enrolled at a school specializing in children with behavior issues -- and he's also seeing a doctor to help him deal with what he calls "anger things" in the 9News report. He is not on medication.

Meanwhile, Davis sees the outcome of the February 22 face-off as positive. "Given the totality of the circumstances, and given that he was indicating to teachers that he had every intention of killing them, we're just happy that no one was hurt," he says. "That's the good news."

Look below to view the 9News story.

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