To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Mom and 8-year-old son held at gunpoint after police mistook their identity
Featured Image Credit: Shanice Stewart

Mom and 8-year-old son held at gunpoint after police mistook their identity

The pregnant mom says she is in 'fear for her life' after the incident with Sacramento police officers

An eight-year-old boy and his nine-months-pregnant mom were pulled over and held at gunpoint by police officers who believed that the child was someone else.

Shanice Stewart was driving her son Brandon to football practice on 17 October when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by police on the highway in Sacramento, California.

"I noticed that they had guns drawn and they had instructions for me to then toss my keys out of the window," Stewart said as she recalled the situation to ABC News.

Stewart did as she was told before following orders to open the car door, get out and put her hands in the air.

"I immediately broke down because I didn't know or understand what was going on," she said.

Brandon followed his mom out of the car, scared that she would be arrested, and pleaded for her to come back.

Sharon Stewart followed officers' orders when she was pulled over.

What Stewart and her son didn't realize at the time was that it wasn't Stewart police were after.

The Sacramento police officers were looking for a juvenile with two felony warrants, including one for gun possession, and they believed Brandon was their suspect.

Fearing for his mom's life, Brandon approached police and told them she hadn't done anything wrong. It was at that point, Stewart believes, that police realized they'd mistaken Brandon for the suspect.

"I was scared of him getting shot,” the mom recalled. "You don't know what to expect, especially when it's multiple officers with their guns drawn towards the car. You just you don't know.

"But I was definitely in fear of getting shot, me or my son. Just by one of them feeling like they were in danger or they did not feel comfortable."

Stewart says her son is traumatized by the incident.

Police later told ABC News that they misidentified Brandon through helicopter surveillance as the mom and son prepared to head to football practice.

Brandon's hair and clothes also matched those of the suspect, police said, though the suspect is a teenager a few years older than Brandon.

"From a distance, officers observed a juvenile who they believed to be the wanted suspect, enter a vehicle with tinted windows," Sacramento police told ABC News.

"Based on the information regarding firearm history, a high-risk stop was initiated. As officers were conducting the stop and the windows were rolled down, they realized the juvenile in the vehicle was not the wanted suspect, and at that point the high-risk stop was ended."

Stewart and Brandon were released shortly after police realized their mistake, but the mom said the ordeal has had lasting impacts on Brandon.

Sacramento police admitted that they'd made a mistake.

Every time they approach the highway now, Brandon asks his mom if they can take the street route instead.

He also reminds his mom to drive safely whenever they pass a police car and rides in the back seat, where he feels safer.

"I do keep repeating to him that all police officers are not bad. You can't just assume that," Stewart said. "I don't want him to hate the law. As far as me, at any given moment, every time an officer gets behind me, I’m at fear for my life. I'm scared and he's scared."

The incident involving Brandon and his mom is now under review by Sacramento police, who have said they 'must acknowledge that a case of mistaken identity occurred'.

"Our officers provided explanation and an apology to the mother and her son," the department said. "Our department has been in contact with the mother since the incident. We recognize the impact that police interactions can have on our community members."

Stewart, who described the incident as a 'life changer', is looking into the possibility of taking legal action against the Sacramento Police Department.

UNILAD has contacted Sacramento Police Department for further comment.

Topics: US News, Crime