(Photo of airsoft gun used in this incident/West Shore RCMP)

Last Friday, West Shore RCMP responded to reports of an intoxicated man in Metchosin who was wielding what looked like an assault rifle style airsoft gun, and threatening to hurt himself.

When officers arrived at the rural property to investigate on the evening of January 18th, they had not yet verified whether the weapon was indeed an airsoft gun or if he was carrying a real rifle.

Once police located the man, they realized he was heavily impaired, distraught, and was yelling at police to shoot him.

The man also refused to drop his gun when instructed to do so, and when officers were about 10 feet away from him, pointed the rifle directly at West Shore RCMP Sgt. Lea.

However, due to Sgt. Lea’s training with the Emergency Response Team (ERT), he was quickly able to recognize that the gun was not real, and therefore moved in and arrested the individual.

“It is important to keep in mind, however, that not all members are a part of the ERT team and that any time a gun is pointed at police, police must respond quickly to the threat and ensure their safety and that of the public’s. This scenario could have resulted in a very traumatic ending,” said Cst. Nancy Saggar in a press release.

The man was taken into custody and once sober, his mental health was assessed. He assured officers that he had no intention of actually harming himself and his actions were solely based on his intoxication. He was then released on a promise to appear in court on March 21st.

Cst. Saggar also pointed out the realistic nature of airsoft guns, which can be easily manipulated to kill small animals and seriously injure anyone they are discharged at.