Toy gun causes concern for police
Truckee police pulled their weapons on a local teenager Saturday night, before confiscating a realistic-looking replica rifle the youth brandished when the officers broke up a noisy party at Donner Lake.
At about 11 p.m. officers responded to a report of loud noises resembling M-80 firecrackers coming from a pier located at 13600 Donner Pass Road. Close to 30 juveniles scattered into the woods when police arrived at the scene, said Truckee Police Sgt. Jason Litchie.
As they fled, one Truckee boy flashed a rifle in the ready position toward police. Truckee police pulled their guns, believing at first the rifle was genuine. If the subject had pointed the weapon in the direction of the officers, they would have fired at him, Litchie said. The youth hesitated briefly when officers ordered him to drop the weapon, but then complied, Litchie said.
“It was definitely a hair-raising experience,” Litchie said. “The consequences could have been tragic.”
No one was injured and the teen was not charged with any violations, Litchie said. He added that police had no reason to believe the teen planned to participate in any criminal activity, although it was a really sobering moment for police, he said.
Upon further investigation, the rifle was determined to be an Airsoft replica firearm, modeled after the Austrian Steyr AUG A3 assault rifle. The replica was fitted with a sniper’s scope and a bipod. The teen admitted he had intended to remove the orange tip on the barrel ” the only rifle part tat identified it as a replica ” and planned to add a sound suppresser that would have made the replica appear identical to a real rifle, Litchie said.
The parents of the teen requested the replica rifle be destroyed along with another Airsoft handgun replica, according to police reports.
Police routinely confiscate the Airsoft handguns, Litchie said. While the replica firearms are not illegal, they should not be used in public places, Litchie warned.
“There’s a time and a place to recreate with those and not in the neighborhood he was in,” Litchie said.