Man Accused Of Pointing Gun At Kids On Playground

Officer Speaks Out After Arrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A group of girls at a summer camp were terrified when a man pointed a gun at them on the playground.

When the officer arrived to the scene, he chose de-escalation instead of deadly force.

The incident was reported shortly after noon Tuesday at the playground of Preston Taylor Ministries located on Indiana Avenue. 

According to an affidavit from Metro Nashville Police, Kyrin Phillip Gardner pointed a gun at several 9-year-olds who were “instantly in fear for their lives” and ran inside the building. 

Police were called to the scene and found Gardner only a half block away. An officer asked him if he had anything on him that he should know about. 

Gardner reportedly admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and opened his pocket. The officer said he saw a small black pistol inside his pants pocket. He was then asked to put his hands behind his head, which he allegedly ignored.

Police said he began to run and reached into the pocket containing the gun. 

The officer detained Gardner until police arrived. A gram of marijuana was found inside his pocket, along with the loaded pistol. 

In surveillance video, you can see 18-year-old Kyrin Gardner walking by the playground.

Chan Sheppard said, "We had a couple girls who came running in, and they shared with our psych director that a man who walked by and had waved a pistol at them."

They went on lock down and called police. 

Officer Tyler Bryson chased down the suspect. He was about a half block away, the suspect allegedly reached for his gun and that's when the officer took him to the ground.

He said he laid on top of Gardner until backup arrived.

Bryson said, "I initially didn't pull my firearm because in an attempt to deescalate the situation, I had control of his hand and I knew it wasn't going anywhere."

Instead of using deadly force, Officer Bryson chose to put his deescalation training to use.

Bryson said, "I told him to calm down, and just relax, it's going to be okay."

Bryson is familiar with Gardner.

He's part of Metro's new community policing program and is assigned to the Preston Taylor homes.

Bryson said, "We're here to help people."

Residents are thankful nothing terrible happened.

Scott Johnson said, "I think it's wonderful that we didn't have to use lethal violence as a lot of police officers tend to shoot and I understand their lives are at stake." 

Bryson said he knew the risks, even had a wound on his arm from the scuffle.

Bryson said, "Very dangerous, absolutely, but it's what you sign up for."

People at Preston Taylor Ministries are thankful no one was hurt.

Sheppard said, "We have communicated with the police officers, our gratitude..."

Officer Bryson said he's back on the streets, hoping that his encounters with Gardner will be a wake up call. 

Bryson said, "One bad decision shouldn't determine a life."

The director at Preston Taylor Ministries said the suspect was one of the children they tried to mentor in the neighborhood. 

Gardner was booked in jail for aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, having a weapon, and drug possession.

Motive has not been released.

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