Twelve-year-old Deante Walker said he doesn’t care for guns. So when he and 6-year-old brother Japlin Cureton stumbled upon one last month near their north Charlotte home, he knew what to do.
They ran home and called their grandmother, who called 911.
On Wednesday, in front of a bank of glaring television lights, Deante and Japlin were honored by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.
The boys’ mother, Shamekia Walker, said she has taught them to avoid guns, which are not allowed in their home – not even toy guns.
“This is not something that kids should have to deal with,” Chief Rodney Monroe said at the ceremony, held at CMPD headquarters. ‘This is a shining example of what young people can do under good parenting.”
The gun, it turned out, was a BB pistol, but police linked it to an armed robbery that had occurred nearby. Police say they’ve made an arrest in the case.
The brothers said they stumbled upon the gun lying in some bushes as they walked home from Statesville Elementary School, where Deante will be in the fifth grade this fall and Japlin will be in second.
Recalling his mother’s teachings, the older brother kept young Japlin from touching the gun and headed for home.
Asked what he had learned from the incident, Deante said, “It tells me not to use guns unless you are a police officer, and then you don’t use them unless you need it.”
Deante later wrote a letter describing the find and mailed it to two influential men — Chief Monroe and President Obama.
The letter read in part: “So please Chief Monroe and other police officers, please try to keep guns (from) laying out (in) the street while I’m growing up.”
At Wednesday’s ceremony, Monroe gave each boy a certificate, a $50 Wendy’s gift certificates and a toy police car. The brothers sat nervously in adult-sized chairs, taking it all in, occasionally glancing at one another to smile.
Their mother said afterward how proud she was: I’m just glad they did the right thing.”
As for the letter they sent to President Obama… no word yet.