Prince George RCMP took possession Wednesday evening of a replica rifle eerily similar to the actual firearm used in the recent mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
Police "immediately flooded" the area of Fifth Avenue and Gillett Street in response to calls that a young man was waving a large black rifle and pointing it down driveways as he was walking along, RCMP said.
As it turned out, it was an Airsoft-style rifle and it was relinquished to police.
“We want to thank those people who called in with updates on the man’s location and to those in the area who gave our police officers directions on where he was last seen. This helped our investigators locate the suspect quickly," Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said.
"This type of call will always be met with an immediate and large police presence, as there is no way to determine from a glance if the firearm is real or a replica. For the safety of the public and our police officers, we must assume that it is a real firearm and act in accordance with our training for these scenarios."
The item bears a strong resemblance to the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle a gunman wielded Tuesday in a rampage in Uvalde, Texas that cost the lives of 19 preteen children and two teachers in a fourth-grade classroom.
Airsoft guns rely on compressed air to fire small plastic pellets. Although they typically feature orange muzzle tips, they are often designed to look like the real thing and have been the cause of police shootings.