Nanaimo RCMP responded in force to an incident that turned out to be a man loading a replica gun in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot.
A police press release noted that RCMP were called to the mall at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 30.
“A 911 caller said they could see a man loading bullets into a large handgun,” noted the release.
RCMP detained a 22-year-old man and a woman at the scene and found in their vehicle a replica CO2 Remington revolver.
“The young man told police he had just purchased the replica firearm and had foolishly decided to take it out of its packaging and load it while in the parking lot,” the release noted.
Police say the man was “extremely apologetic” and he and the woman were released without charges, “as the replica firearm was not being used in manner dangerous to the public.” However, the replica gun will be destroyed in accordance with Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s policy.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in the release that the incident prevented officers from responding to other calls for service.
The RCMP remind members of the public that police “will always respond to gun calls as if they are real, and they will consider the gun to be authentic until such time it has been proven to be a replica or toy.”