Scott County

Georgetown police shot man brandishing pellet gun that looked like a gun, chief says

Georgetown Police Chief Mike Bosse holds photo of pellet gun held by Stephen Young
Georgetown Police Chief Mike Bosse holds photo of pellet gun held by Stephen Young Lexington

A man shot early Monday by Georgetown police had wielded a pellet gun that looked similar to a handgun, Chief Mike Bosse said.

Stephen C. Young, 29, of Georgetown was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital after he had been shot twice. His condition was not immediately available but his injuries aren’t expected to be life threatening. No officers were injured in the shooting.

Bosse held up a photo of the pellet gun during a Monday press conference. The pellet gun appears similar to a Beretta PX4 Storm semiautomatic pistol, Bosse said.

"Could you tell (the difference)?," Bosse asked reporters. The pellet gun bears a warning on its side that says "Not a toy. Misuse or careless use may cause fatal injury."

Officers did not realize the weapon was a pellet gun until after the shooting and first aid had been given to Young, Bosse said.

The shooting happened about 1:30 a.m. Monday in the 600 block of North Hamilton Street. Police were dispatched there after a report of domestic violence.

“The original call included that the person could be armed with a firearm,” Bosse said.

When they entered the house, three officers confronted Young. He was in a bedroom and the officers were in a hallway, Bosse said. Young told police he had a gun, but he did not indicate it was a pellet gun, Bosse said.

“They ordered him to drop the handgun,” Bosse said. “Instead of dropping the handgun, he pointed the handgun at the officers, at which time one officer fired, striking the subject twice.”

Young did not fire the pellet gun at officers, Bosse said. Police will consider charging Young with assault and wanton endangerment, Bosse said. Young also allegedly struck a 5-month-old child. Another child in the house was unhurt.

The officer who shot Young, whom Bosse did not identify, will be on paid administrative leave “until we feel he’s ready to come back,” Bosse said. The officer, a five-year employee of the Georgetown department, will also receive counseling from a police chaplain.

"We want to make sure he's OK,” Bosse said. “That's a traumatic event. He feels somebody just attempted to take his life and he had to respond with deadly force. That's a lot to emotionally go through."

Bosse said police will take care in their investigation, especially in light of the current environment in which police across the country are under more scrutiny for use of force.

"We see how complicated things are right now," Bosse said.

Young had an outstanding felony warrant for unpaid child support, Bosse said.