Over the weekend, our 911 dispatch center received a frantic call from a subject who heard some yelling outside. When he stepped out on his patio to see what was going on, he saw two vehicles sitting in an adjacent parking lot and observed a subject running towards a nearby creek. He then heard someone yelling “I have a gun, stop or I’ll shoot” and something about being a “drug dealer”.
As you can imagine this alarmed the witness and certainly got the attention of the officers who were on duty that evening.
When officers arrived on scene, they located two occupied vehicles sitting behind an area business. Since the information we received from the caller indicated there was possibly a weapon involved, the officers conducted a high risk car stop on these two vehicles and the subjects inside.
Each occupant was ordered at gunpoint to exit the vehicle and walk back towards the officers. This was done to protect the officers and maintain control of the scene. The subjects were then handcuffed and interviewed individually regarding the incident.
The story was finally sorted out as several young adults admitted they were just playing a fun game of cops and robbers and no weapons or drugs were involved.
Our advice to them was to conduct this type of game in an area where the general public wouldn’t overhear or see anything of a suspicious nature. Otherwise, they could be staring down the barrel of a real police weapon again, if they’re not careful.
Another common problem we face is individuals who carry air-soft weapons that are replicas of real guns. A small orange tip on the barrel of the air soft gun is the only distinguishing difference. Unfortunately, some people will paint over the tips to disguise the air soft guns even further. This has caused alarm to citizens who assumed the guns were real. Sometimes even law enforcement cannot immediately tell the difference which could have serious consequences.