When I was younger, I used to play airsoft competitively in the area, much like you would do with paintball. However, the difference in airsoft and paintball is realism. Most middle to higher end airsoft guns are advertised as 1:1 scale with the real gun. For example, a kid can go out and buy a 120 dollar airsoft ak47 that is in every way the same as the real ak47, but sports an orange tip. The first thing many kids would do, including myself, was either remove the orange tip to add accessories such as mock suppressors or different flash hiders, like you would an a ar15. Some of the guns I handled personnaly, even though they are deemed toys, were so incredibly close to the real firearm, that they could accept aftermarket parts compatable with the real firearm, such as magpul, eotechs, harris, etc..
The cops involved in the shooting were said to have opened fire on the kid because the weapon was raised towards them in an aggressive manner. Although the gun was only a cheap airsoft knock off of an ak47, it looks pretty realistic to me, especially if a kid was pointing it at me. The cops shot, hit the kid and killed him. In the situation, it was probably difficult to go for a wounding shot, or the reaction was to just shoot in defense, rather using the time before a shot to determine if you could wound the individual. I am sure this will have various effects on the airsofting communities around the state, as we have seen more and more "bb" or pellet rifles (usually called this by the media, but its really just an airsoft gun that fires a small 6mm plastic pellet at about 300 fps) in the news lately.
"Ducks are like women; they are all good, just some are better than others."-Best 8:00am duck blind quote I have ever heard.