Father ‘regretful’ after child seen with gun in video

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Photo of a gel blaster gun similar to what was seen in the viral social media video.

THE father of a child who was seen holding what appeared to be a gun in a now-viral video said the object was a toy but he is still regretful he filmed the video.

The 15-second clip which surfaced on April 8, shows the girl holding what appeared to be a black handgun.

A male voice is heard telling the child, “Show me the gun, crack it, crack it.”

Speaking with Newsday on April 14, the father said he preferred to remain unnamed as the video has already inflicted enough emotional damage on his family without them being identified.

He said the video was made last year and made its way to social media after his Google drive was hacked.

“The gun was actually a gel blaster bought for Christmas. I made a video thinking it was a personal video, not expecting to get leaked. I’m not sure how it got out. And it just spread from there.”

A gel ball blaster, or gel gun, is a toy gun which shoots gel balls commonly called ‘Orbeez.’

The father said when the video was leaked, he went to the authorities and assisted them with their investigations.

His daughter was placed with relatives for two days while the Children’s Authority investigated the matter but has since been reunited with her parents.

“They were satisfied with their investigation because my daughter told them that it was a gel blaster and she described it to them and they were satisfied. They said they are 95 per cent done with the investigation but it is still open.”

He said the situation has also traumatised his wife who was afraid she was going to lose her daughter.

“We thought that we were going to lose her, and that was kind of scary for her. And she is still kind of traumatised. So we are just trying to kind of forget about it. We did our part with the authorities and were cleared, but it’s already out there on social media, so we can’t do anything (about that).”

Despite being upset that the video was stolen, shared without his permission, and led to his daughter’s face being “plastered over social media,” he said he realised he was wrong for making the video.

He said they were just amazed at how real the toy gun looked.

“We regret that we made the video…It should not have been done in the first place. It was a wrongful thought on my part, so we regret that part on our side.”

Asked if he would ever buy another toy gun for his daughter, he said the one in the video was a gift and he did not intend to buy another one for her.

He also advised other parents against buying toy guns for their children.

“The backlash on everything, it’s kind of off. So I would not advise anyone (to buy it) maybe just to avoid any hiccups in the future.”

Meanwhile, head of the police’s Child Protection Unit Snr Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne said the police’s investigation is still ongoing.

Asked if she had advice for any parents about toys and filming videos with them, she said they should “do the responsible thing”.

“Depict positivity into your child in every aspect and every interaction with your child, whether it be privately or publicly, always do the responsible things so that you do not have to have regrets.”