Saturday, November 22, 2008

Man found with toy airsoft gun undergoes mental evaluation

The man taken into police custody Wednesday when officers responded to a 911 call about a possible gun threat on the South Quad was transported to a local hospital for a mental evaluation.

Luitenant Roy Acree of the University Police, said the 26-year-old man was not a University student.

"According to the phone call he was walking south and yelling at himself. From that, we knew we might be dealing with a mental problem," Acree said.

The weapon apprehended during the afternoon dispatch was an Airsoft pellet gun, which Acree said looks similar to a real gun, other than the orange muzzle.

"He was located quickly and the situation was resolved," AcreeWithin two minutes, officers stopped the man on Gregory Drive, where they quickly determined that the gun was a toy, Christensen said.

"The officers did an outstanding job," he said.

The man had an Airsoft pellet gun, which can look like a real gun, usually except for an orange muzzle piece, Christensen said.

"People who have these in public place themselves in danger," Christensen said. "Officers cannot always determine that it's just a toy. They look very much like a real gun."

The guns are spring-powered and shoot small plastic balls, he said.

Police were initially sent to an area at the south end of the Quad near Foellinger Hall, Christensen said. The man was found on Gregory Drive and questioned by police. The man, who was not arrested, was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation, Christensen said.

The incident was resolved so quickly that the campus emergency notification system was not activated.

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