(Replica firearm seized by West Shore RCMP)

West Shore RCMP say a 13-year-old child was arrested and then released for possessing a replica handgun.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday October 6, the boy was with a group of friends in the school yard at Ruth King Elementary School located at 2764 Jacklin Rd in Langford.

He was showing the replica handgun to the group when a “concerned adult” passerby witnessed the interaction, heard the boy tell his friends “not to worry as it was not loaded”, and called police.

“When we first receive the report, it is unknown if this is a real handgun or a replica,” said Cst. Nancy Saggar in a phone interview with Victoria Buzz.

“This is a report that’s coming in from a witness in the area who believed that they very clearly saw a handgun, both displayed and then tucked back into [the boy’s] waistband. So we have to take precautions and treat it as if it were real.”

Officers flooded the area and found the 13-year-old boy right away.

He was arrested for “possessing a weapon dangerous to the public”, and put into handcuffs before police could search for the weapon.

“Once that search was done we realized what we’re dealing with is a replica firearm, and at that point we called the youth’s parents,” said Saggar.

Police say the boy will not be charged, but he was educated on the dangers of possessing and displaying a replica handgun, particularly near a school.

Saggar states he “recognized the error of his ways” and apologized for the incident.

“The emphasis here is that I don’t think the youth’s intention was to harm anyone. There’s no evidence of him trying to threaten anybody with it,” she added.

“It was more like a ‘hey look what I have’ type of deal, and because it was reported, it’s been dealt with in that manner.”