Second armed response to ‘toy’ gunplay in Surrey

Police advise owners of fake weapons to use caution, following South Surrey incident Oct. 16

For the second time this week, Surrey police are warning residents who own imitation guns to be careful where they are seen with them, following an incident that resulted in significant police response.

The most recent incident occurred Sunday afternoon in South Surrey, when police were told of men wearing camouflage and carrying weapons in the 1900-block of 158 Street, Sgt. Alanna Dunlop said Tuesday.

The 1:40 p.m. report sparked a guns-drawn response that caught the eye of  passersby who reported seeing around eight police vehicles in the area.

Officers found two men, aged 21 and 22 years, who were trying out new gear, including airsoft guns, Dunlop said.

They were detained at gunpoint, then released.

The night before, reports of a group of men wearing face masks and carrying handguns in an underground parkade near the Wal-Mart at Guildford Town Centre led police to detain the men at gunpoint until it was confirmed that their weapons were fake.

Dunlop said police determined the Guildford activity “was related to Halloween costumes (the men) had just bought.”

The South Surrey incident “was similar, where they bought new stuff and were trying it on,” she said.

Dunlop said police will always treat such reports as real-time incidents, with a response that is “significant and appropriate.”

People using such equipment in public “need to be aware (that) if they can be observed… they could be interpreted by somebody to be a threat.

“If they’re toys, you need to be aware of your surroundings.”

In light of the recent events and with Halloween just around the corner, Dunlop said police “don’t recommend” choosing costumes for the occasion that include imitation weapons.

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