STAMFORD - Witnesses are questioning whether a Stamford police chase put innocent children's lives at risk.

The chase began Tuesday evening at Carwin Park on the city's west side and ended at Stamford's Hatch Field Park.

Police say that 18-year-old Parish Rowell was smoking pot at Carwin Park when he ran from officers with a loaded handgun in his waistband.

They arrested Rowell a few blocks away after they say he pulled the gun out and initially resisted calls to drop it.

Witnesses say an unmarked police car crashed through a metal gate and almost hit nearly a dozen kids.

"An officer met him, and at gunpoint, ordered him to drop the firearm, which he didn't immediately do," says Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin, of Rowell. "It was a very tense situation."

Conklin says police are cracking down on illegal guns after a series of shootings on Stamford's west side.

"If they're doing their job, that's one thing," says Joshua Shepard, of Stamford. "But once you involve other people with almost hitting children, that's when, you know, people have something to say."

Stamford police say if witnesses come forward and file complaints, they will launch an internal affairs investigation.