(Saanich Police handout)

A 19-year-old man was arrested early this morning after he was seen carrying and pointing an airsoft gun at a person near a school in Saanich.

At around 6:10 a.m. Monday morning, Saanich Police responded to an early morning call after someone was reported carrying a firearm through a field near Cedar Hill Middle School.

Saanich Police responded to the incident with a heavy presence. 

The man was reported to have pointed his weapon at a person, then walked toward a business complex and into a covered parkade at the corner of Cedar Hill Road and Mckenzie Avenue.

Upon arrival at the scene, police closed down the immediate area and evacuated the business complex.

According to police they located their suspect, who was a 19-year-old man, inside the parkade. His gun was determined to be an airsoft gun that was made to look identical to a semi-automatic firearm.

“While we are still working on why this man was walking around with a weapon in public, we have no information to suggest he was targeting any person or location,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades in a media release. 

“Imitation firearms pose a significant risk to the public, as police treat them as real until proven otherwise. Imitation, airsoft, paintball or similar weapons should never be carried or used in public spaces.”

Police say the suspect now faces one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and he remains in their custody for the time being. 

Cst. Anastasiade told Victoria Buzz the suspect was arrested within 40 minutes of the call coming into Saanich Police.

Anastasiade also said the incident happened well before Cedar Hill Middle School entered session, so the school was unaffected. 

According to Saanich police, he was known to them for other reasons prior to this incident.

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