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On March 1, National City police got a call at 11:30 a.m. from inside the Arco AM/PM at W. 8th and Roosevelt Avenue from someone who had seen people aiming what appeared to be assault weapons inside a car near the gas pumps.

Video:

Gas station incident

In the pouring rain, several police cars surrounded the small car wrapped with insurance-company ads. Officers took cover behind their vehicles and ordered the three occupants of the car to raise their hands and come out one by one. Each of the occupants was patted down and handcuffed before being placed in a police cruiser. All the while, people at the gas pumps watched at a distance of no more than three to five feet beyond the police cruisers, laughing and joking. Word had gone around that the "high-powered assault weapons" were BB guns.

A young woman on the nearby sidewalk was crying. She said that one man in the car was her younger 21-year-old brother and that the weapons were just BB guns. Her companion kept telling her to calm down and assured her that nothing would happen to her brother.

After the car was cleared of its occupants, the officer barking instructions led four other police officers — weapons up and at the ready — to search the vehicle. They came out carrying what appeared to be several assault-style rifles.

A National City police officer whose nametag identified him as N. Matthews came over to talk to the sister. He carried one of the rifles: black, with a sight scope and a skull painted on it.

“We got a call from people inside the convenience store saying they had seen people pointing guns inside a car, and that’s why we had to approach the way we did. In the world we live in today, we don’t know what we can be facing.”

The officer explained that nothing more would happen because the guns were not illegal, but he advised that the guns should be carried in the trunk.

“They shouldn’t be playing like they were. These guns look real.” He stopped and held up the gun. “This is how people get killed.”

Shortly afterward, the three young men were allowed to go free. As the police cars departed, the sister on the sidewalk was waving her arms and appeared to be yelling at her brother.

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Comments

Visduh March 2, 2015 @ 4:36 p.m.

It isn't the 50's any more, and brandishing realistic-looking BB guns is really dumb. It's a good thing that some quick-trigger cop didn't waste one or more of them. Doesn't anyone tell these kids anything now?

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AlexClarke March 3, 2015 @ 5:46 a.m.

If one of these dirt bags had pointed the realistic-looking BB gun at a police officer the police officer would have no choice but to shoot. Or would you have him wait until he found out that it wasn't a BB gun? Of course the cop would be dead. Unlike the movies where the audience gets to see the bad guy slowly point the weapon and then watch as he pulls the trigger in the real world if you do not shoot at the point of threat you are dead. These dirt bags are lucky.

1

KLoEditor March 3, 2015 @ 10:40 a.m.

In reply to both Visduh and Alex Clarke, I happened to be at the AM/PM when this happened, and got to see those guns up close. They were menacing looking, even when the police were carrying them away. Large, black, articulated to look like a military weapon, with scope sights and whatever you call those legs that you set down, also had skulls painted on the handles. The inside tip had a maybe 1/2" red plastic insert, so small you couldn't see it unless you were right up close. Apparently the guys were messing around pointing the guns at each other in the car and someone saw them and freaked out. That cop told the girl, "This is how people get killed." I could not agree more.

Don't really get why anyone would need a BB gun that looks like that in the first place.

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Visduh March 3, 2015 @ 8:24 p.m.

Nobody "needs" a BB gun. They are glorified toys, and unfortunately there are those who get a big charge from having something that looks, as you say "menacing", but which costs far less than the real thing, and requires no paperwork and background check prior to purchase. While I would not call these youngsters dirt bags, I would call them almost fatally dumb. Waving something that closely resembles an assault rifle in public just doesn't go down with the public. So, the heat-packing cops show up, and somehow tragedy is avoided. But did any of those studs really get the message about how close he came to being shot full of (real) bullet holes? I rather doubt that.

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KLoEditor March 3, 2015 @ 9:59 p.m.

Well from what I saw, the police talked to the guys, and the sister went up one side and down the other of her little brother. So the answer is who knows whether they get it or not. But probably not if they're the sort who want these sort of guns in the first place, right? Boys and their toys.

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KLoEditor March 3, 2015 @ 10:52 p.m.

Oh, and fatally dumb is a brilliant description.

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