A young boy who brought the Emergency Task Force out after he was seen with a BB gun at his house on Port Union Road will not be charged, police say.
But officials say they will continue to respond to any such incidents in the same manner.
A TTC bus driver on Port Union spotted a boy coming out of a house with what appeared to be a rifle around noon on Jan. 8. After calling the police, much of the road was blocked off, schools were locked down, and the ETF became involved.
They ultimately bashed down the front door of the home.
“We took the call very seriously,” said Sergeant Mark Harvey, of 43 Division, who added police were concerned because the owner of one of the vehicles in the driveway had a past history involving the use of guns.
According to Harvey, the “rifle” seen by the driver was actually a BB handgun that belonged to a boy who was around 11 or 12 years old. After he was found at a local school, he was turned over to his parents.
Sgt. Harvey said the man who owned the car in the driveway had nothing to do with the incident. He was arrested and soon released with no charges.
“We did have a follow-up where we spoke with the parents,” the sergeant said. “We talked about the seriousness of the crime, with having streets closed and schools locked down.”
“We explained the ramifications, and hopefully this won’t happen again.”
One of the schools that were forced to lock down was Charlottetown Jr. Public School. According to Principal Greig McCracken, his facility was locked down from about 12:40 to 3:20 p.m.
“Our first objective is to make sure the kids are safe,” McCracken said. “The lockdown was more of a precaution, to keep the kids safe.”
“It wasn’t a traumatic experience.”
McCracken also said he is not too worried about the fact an incident like this occurred close to his school.
“Situations can happen anywhere. It’s not just here. This isn’t a bad area.”
Looking back on the experience, McCracken said “with the police request to lock down, it’s just good to know that we have a program in place, and that it worked. The kids knew what to do, and we had the support of the parents.”
Though the gun was a replica and nobody was charged or injured in the incident, Sgt. Harvey said there are lessons to be learned.
“[Replicas] so closely resemble the real thing — even their weight is the same — so they do pose a great danger,” he said. “You can’t have these things in public because people will think they are real.”
“They will call the police, and we will take it seriously.”
“Pellet guns, BB guns, and air guns are easy to buy and no license is required to own one,” Harvey said.