DELTA Police say that two recent calls they received highlight the risks of walking in public or driving with replica guns.
In the first instance, police received a call when a member of the public reported a male shooting what he suspected was a BB gun in the playground of a North Delta elementary school just before 6 pm.
There was no one else in the area, but the passerby did not feel the actions of the male were safe, so he immediately left the area and called the police.
“We responded to that call urgently – with lights and sirens,” says Inspector Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police frontline patrol.
“Police must treat this type of call as though the firearm might be real, and real firearms are sometimes made to look like toys,” he explains.
Police located a male matching the description provided, near the playground area. The first officer on scene loudly identified himself, and asked the male to show his hands – and then the male reached into his waistband and pulled out a black revolver-style handgun.
“By this time we had two officers on scene – and I’m very proud of the extremely professional way in which they handled this matter,” says Feenan. “They managed a situation with a great deal of risk and brought it to a successful and peaceful resolution.”
The male in question ended up lobbing the firearm in the officer’s direction, and then complied with demands to get on the ground. He was taken into custody.
“As it turned out the male was extremely apologetic. He had recently purchased a paintball gun and was shooting plastic pellets at a tree while waiting for a friend,” says Feenan. “When police arrived he apparently got scared, and admitted he made a very bad decision to pull the firearm from his waistband. He had no intention of using it against anyone.”
In another instance – the same night, and also in North Delta – police pulled over a vehicle after a call from the public about people in a vehicle with weapons. Again, police used lights and sirens and ordered the vehicle occupants out of the car.
Four individuals were arrested, and police recovered a range of weapons from the vehicle, including a black BB gun, a cattle prod, a hatchet, a knife and more.
Police seized the weapons and the investigation into this incident is continuing with charges expected to be forwarded to Crown Counsel for consideration.
“Oftentimes, when responding to calls that involve replica guns, we find teens or young adults carrying them,” says Feenan. “In the first instance with the male in the playground, he was just 18 years old. Parents, please talk to your teens or grown children. They are taking a huge risk if they take that gun out in public, or in a vehicle, and potentially do something foolish.”