The Emeryville PD disrupted what was originally thought to be a potential armed robbery last night. Officers responding to a call from a resident at the Artistry Emeryville Apartment Complex on Shellmound who reported seeing three “suspicious” subjects in the first level parking garage. The suspects were described as wearing masks, camouflage and armed with what appeared to be assault style weapons and handguns.
EPD units arrived on the scene and set a perimeter around the complex. Lieutenant Fred Dauer spotted the subjects in the first floor parking garage and successfully detained the four subjects with assisting units led by Sargeant Mike Lee. The subjects were cooperative, obeyed police commands and were apprehended without incident.
Upon further investigation, it was determined that the subjects were filming a rap music video using realistic “Airsoft” replica guns. These guns are legal and used in simulated combat games such as paint ball. These are the same types of replica guns that led to the 2014 officer-involved shooting and death of 12 year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH. These replicas did not have an orange tip on the barrel which is commonly used to distinguish them from real firearms. This is apparently not illegal in the U.S.
“This type of call is one that could have very easily turned into some sort of use of force up to and including deadly force.” noted Emeryville PD Chief Jennifer Tejada through email.
The subjects were released from police detention and given the advice of notifying their local law enforcement agencies of their activity prior to prevent this type of confusion and avoid possible tragedy.
“It is disturbing that people would create this kind of high risk scenario in which lives could very well be jeopardized” added Tejada. “I am very proud of the manner in which our staff handles these incidents considering how intensely stressful they are given the realistic appearance of the weapons.”