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Leesburg police warn those carrying fake rifles of impending tragedy

Officers in the Leesburg Police Department are dealing with a disturbing trend they say could lead to tragedy.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 21, Leesburg officers were covertly watching the area around the 300 Block of East Magnolia Street, following recent complaints of criminal activity. While concealed, they saw two vehicles turn their lights off and enter a parking area. The vehicles then circled the area and parked, with several people getting out and talking with others in the area, the department’s Facebook page states.

Officers continued to watch the group from about 50 yards away until a man entered the back seat of one of the vehicles and retrieved a black rifle. The man first started waving the rifle around and then assumed a low-ready tactical position, a Facebook post says.

Officers quickly converged on the area and the man ran inside a nearby apartment, then returned without the rifle. Officers detained several people and then found the rifle behind the apartment the man had entered.

After closer examination, officers discovered that the rifle actually was a Crossman Arms BB gun/air rifle that was heavily modified using black tape and other materials to make it look real. The air rifle had an extended stock, a fake extended magazine and no markings signifying it as a fake or toy.

The BB gun was confiscated by the officers after no one claimed ownership. And everyone involved was then released at the scene.

The report notes that this incident marked the second time in four days that Leesburg officers had encountered young adults brandishing what appeared to be authentic rifles in an aggressive manner.

“Fortunately, neither incident resulted in a lethal encounter with law enforcement,” the department’s Facebook post says. “However, we cannot guarantee that outcome every time. Having said that, we implore people to demonstrate common sense before one of these incidents ends in tragedy.”

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