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A 15-year-old teenager was shot in the back by the LAPD while he was standing next to his friend who was carrying a toy gun, the LA Times reports.

The near-fatal incident happened early Tuesday morning, when police spotted the teen holding the gun in an alley. Police claim he was pointing the suspected weapon at another person. When the teen didn’t follow officers’ orders to drop the gun, one opened fire, hitting the boy’s friend in the back.

The weapon turned out to be a replica firearm, said police department spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith. The boy was transported to a local hospital and released after treatment.

“It’s certainly an unfortunate situation,” Smith said. “But because of people bringing replica weapons out like that, it certainly could have been a terrible tragedy.”

The teen in possession of the toy wasn’t arrested, but may faces charges of having it in the presence of a police officer. Reports confirm the officers involved were removed from duty. Their names will be released after the department’s 72-hour briefing is finished.

According to Fox News, the boy was transported to a hospital and released to his mother the same day.

SOURCE: LA Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images 

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