Rome teen faces charges for shooting airsoft gun on his own property

By WKTV News

A Rome mother feels the pain of the Virginia mom whose son was suspended from school for a year for firing an airsoft gun on their own property. In the case of the Rome mother, though, the teenage son is facing criminal charges.

Naomi Oshel says her then 15-year-old son, Austin Perks, was playing with an airsoft gun in the courtyard of his friend's Rome apartment complex June 1st when police responded after someone reported possible guns in the area. She thought the entire incident ended that night, after she says officers examined the gun and handed the toy back to her son.

Three weeks later, a Rome Police Officer showed up at her door.

"Expressing to me that he really wasn't sure why he was at my home. That he thought it was all very silly but that a couple of people above him were pushing for a charge," says Oshel.

About a week later, she was told to bring her son into court to face an unlawful possession of a weapon charge.

"I asked police if they had a complainant, somebody that said they were firing upon them. At that point I was told no and asked if they showed up at the scene and found 15 year old children playing with a weapon did they secure the weapon into evidence? And again was told no," says Oshel.

Oshel says her son isn't completely blameless. She faults him with creating a less than positive relationship with Rome Police after they had to ban him from a local park for climbing. She says that in the past, when he got into minor trouble at school, she made him pay the consequences. But in this case, she feels the punishment doesn't fit the 'crime'. And she says she's not interested in any deals. There's only one outcome she seeks.

"I want it dismissed with prejudice. I don't want this in any way to hurt my son's future. If I felt that he had done something, if he was intentionally firing on somebody or had jumped out of a bush to scare someone or threaten and make it look like a real weapon then I wouldn't be opposed to charges."

Perks has a court appearance Thursday in Oneida County Family Court. Oshel says she's ready to go to trial if necessary.

Rome's police chief returned calls for this story, but said the juvenile and public information officers who have the specifics of the case were in training and unreachable.

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