A 12-year-old boy playing with his new toy gun as he sat in his father's minivan next to the State House yesterday morning set off a brief but tense manhunt by state troopers after a security camera monitored by park rangers picked up what appeared to be someone looking through the scope of a rifle.
"It appears at this time that no live firearm was at the State House, nor any imminent danger," state police later said in a statement after alerting fellow law enforcement to be on the lookout for a blue Chrysler Town and Country van with two ladders on its roof rack. They took the extra precaution of warning the public not to approach the vehicle.
The South Shore father and son, whose identities have not been released by police, were located by troopers from the South Boston barracks less than two hours after the 11:40 a.m. incident began next to the State House loading dock.
Troopers said of the child in a statement, "The item he was holding was his newly purchased 'Air Soft Rifle' (which is like a BB gun, but fires plastic pellets). Air Soft rifles in most instances resemble an exact replica of the actual firearm."
Police said the matter remained under investigation last night, however.
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service