Astoria father charged with firing BB guns at park before letting his children play with them: DA

An Astoria man was charged with firing BB guns at Ditmars Park, according to Queens DA Richard Brown. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A Queens father arraigned on charges Friday of shooting illegal BB guns in a crowded Astoria park and then letting his five-year-old daughter wave one of the guns around at other children, the Queens district attorney said.

With his two young children in tow, 54-year-old Zbigniew Pawlowski allegedly brought two BB guns to Ditmars Park around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, and then loaded the guns with plastic pellets and began shooting them at a tree, according to Queens DA Richard Brown.

Pawlowski then allegedly handed the BB guns to his children and let them fire off a few shots at various points around the park, Brown said, adding the five-year-old daughter allegedly waved the gun around at other children.

When police arrived and tried to cuff Pawlowski, he “flailed his arms” around in an attempt to avoid arrest, Brown said.

“Illegal firearms – whether they be a spring-powered pistol or a more conventional deadly firearm – are a serious threat to public safety,” the DA said. “By allowing a five-year-old child to play with the loaded BB gun as if it was just a toy, the defendant is accused of recklessly endangering lives by creating a scenario that could have led to serious injury not just to his own children but innocent others who may have come in contact with the weapon.”

Pawlowski was charged with violating city administrative code AC 10-131, which bans the sale or possession of air pistols, as well as reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest, according to a statement from the district attorney.

Brown said the Astoria dad faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:58 pm, May 11, 2013
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Reader feedback

tony athanasakis from astoria says:
Was he stupid for bringing air guns outside and shooting them at the park? Absolutely.
Was he irresponsible as a parent to allow his kids to play with the toy guns at the park? Debatable.
Did he endanger anyone's life? Not at all.
Should he be jailed for any amount of time and have his family turned inside out because of a stupid mistake? Not at all.
I'm sure some genius will say that a cop could have mistook the toy gun for a real gun and shot him or his kid. That is a possibility especially in a city with cops who just last summer executed a man in Times Square who only held a knife and years before shot 40 bullets at a man with a cell phone (Amadou Diallo). That possibility should be addressed by better training the trigger happy cops that roam our streets.
May 11, 2013, 4:40 pm

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