ROSEVILLE, Calif. (CBS) ― It's an age-old childhood prank that has taken a very dangerous turn. It's called Doorbell Ditch - where kids ring the doorbell and then usually just run away. Police say some kids have added a potentially deadly twist to the prank: a fake gun.
When Roseville resident Brian Stark opened his door Sunday night, he found a 13-year-old boy pointing a gun in his face.
"We were eating dinner last night and the doorbell rang. I opened up the door and someone started shooting at me," Stark told CBS station KOVR-TV in Sacramento.
"I jumped back a little bit and could tell it wasn't real because I could see the plastic BBs bouncing off the walls."
Stark said he was shocked. But his concern is that the prank could have ended differently.
"I could have been carrying a gun. Not knowing that they were using a toy gun, I could have shot them." Stark explained.
Roseville police said fake guns like the Air Soft gun used in the prank look so real, even they can't tell the difference.
"If it was found on a traffic stop or if it was coming out of their pocket, it would probably result in a shooting." Roseville Police Lt. Michael Doane told KOVR-TV.
"No officer wants to live through a shooting let alone have the facts come out that the gun that was pointed at them was a play gun and the juvenile was just fooling around," said Lt. Doane.
Because the guns can be bought at any sporting goods store for under $50, police say the risk is huge and inevitable.
"It's just a matter of time before one of these incidences turn deadly," warned Doane.
The 13-year-old in this case is being charged with battery.