“Saddened to see Brownsville in the headlines today: 15-year-old shot dead after brandishing a weapon in middle school,” a Post colleague, Kevin Sieff, tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Police say the weapon a Texas eighth-grader pointed at officers in a school hallway before they killed him was a pellet gun. (AP)

Called by authorities at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville, Tex., police confronted eighth grader Jaime Gonzalez in a school hallway and shot him after he refused to drop what appeared to be a handgun. He later died from his wounds. In a tragic twist, the gun was later revealed to be a pellet gun, the Associated Press reports.

Local news station KGBT aired police radio traffic. The men heard on the tape appear to believe Gonzalez was carrying a real handgun and there was real danger. Students and teachers in the school were also hiding in the school afraid of Gonzalez’s actions.

However, his parents questioned the need for three shots. “Why was so much excess force used on a minor?” the boy’s father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr., asked the AP outside the family’s home Wednesday night.

According to a description on WalMart, the semi-automatic CO2 .177-caliber pellet pistols are made to look and feel like real guns. A reviewer writes, “Got my Colt Defender and was so impressed on how well it was made. It looks and feels like my real 45acp 1911.”