(CBS) – A police officer could have easily shot a boy who was playing with a toy gun during a recent encounter — and the shooting would have been justified — Plainfield’s police chief tells WBBM.

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Chief John Konopek says police on Friday responded to a report of three kids with guns. When officers approached the trio, one of the youths ran off into a wooded area, he says.

One officer saw that teen crouched down in a “tactical” manner with a rifle pointed at the other police officers.

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That officer pointed his weapon at the boy and yelled for him to drop the weapon; the youngster complied. It was soon determined the teen had been holding a toy.

“Our officers were pretty upset after the incident,” Konopek says. “It was a very close call. It could have turned tragic very quickly.”

The boys had been carrying Airsoft guns. Each had the required orange tip indicating they are toys, but the chief says that is hard to tell from a distance.

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The Plainfield Police Department posted pictures and a narrative about the incident on its Facebook page. Konopek says he wants parents to be aware of where their kids are using these things.