Police perform high-risk takedown after weapons scare

Mitch MacDonald
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2012 Charlottetown Police Services

The weapons may not have been "real" firearms but two filmmakers may face criminal charges for having them in public without a permit Monday afternoon in downtown Charlottetown.

A 52-year-old Charlottetown male and 20-year-old Moncton male were arrested in a high-risk takedown after city police received calls regarding two individuals with possible weapons in the downtown core at approximately 2:44 p.m. Monday.

Police located the two at the corner of Grafton Street and University Avenue at 2:50 p.m. and seized a number of fake handguns and a pellet gun with a scope, which Sgt. Tom Clow described as looking "very real."

It turned out the individuals were making a movie in the area but had failed to get a license permitting them to film.

Because of this, members of the public had perceived the weapons to be real and contacted police.

With authorities unaware of individuals filming in the area, Clow said the incident was extremely dangerous, putting both of the individuals as well as the public at risk.

"When you have a perceived weapon involved, it's what the public perceives it to be... and police have to respond accordingly," said Clow. "We're responding for the public's safety."

It was clear that members of the public perceived the guns to be real, with one Twitter user describing five police cruisers cornering an individual and seizing a rifle and at least one handgun.

The individuals were later released from police custody Monday afternoon pending further investigation. Clow said the incident could result in criminal charges.

Clow said that if an item is perceived as a weapon, then that's the category it falls in under the criminal code.

He added that with the high number of individuals now using social media, people should be careful in similar situations.

"People should use common sense," said Clow. "We have a lot of people who use social media, just use common sense in what you're using for props."

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Moncton, Grafton Street

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Recent comments

  • Scott Goatee
    October 09, 2012 - 22:47

    Derpington, I agree 100% these cops should feel Dishonoured, they were only creating more Fear with this spectacle. If two people can have charges pressed for carrying toys, I'm worried that this is just a Portal 2 worse things. This was not some Resident Evil, just two students on their way home. People saying they are scared are simply experiencing TrackMania, the way society is going these days it seems. Maybe people just need a Bioshock to the system to avoid this potential future Crackdown.

  • okay so...
    October 09, 2012 - 17:23

    The Real Story: they weren't on Sydney Street and they weren't right in front of the Legislative Assembly. The were on University and Fitzroy, and in front of the ATC building. Yes, the cops did, indeed, drive by a number of times while toy guns were being brandished in the street but did not stop to ask any questions, and yes they did see what was going on, they simply chose not to stop and ask questions...or to perform a high-risk takedown right then. Yes, all of the toy guns were, indeed, put away and not visible at all; the filming was finished and the filmers were on their way home, when the two individuals were arrested at gun point. The primary filmmaker in question had informed the police of what was happening for every other day of filming that involved toy guns - this was the one time he didn't call ahead; so this makes it even harder for me to see that this is how the police chose to react. I don't think anyone is saying that people shouldn't have called the police if they were scared by gun play in the streets of Charlottetown (even though there was clearly a video camera and someone yelling "Action!" and "Cut!" all over the place). I think what some people are trying to say is that there was no need for a hostile take down as the "suspects" were clearly not "high risk". Also, if that is the "protocol" reaction for police, then, given the filmmaker's track record with regards to notifying the police about his filmmaking shenanigans, this situation should be cleared up a lot easier than the police, or the media, or whoever, is making it out to be. PS. to "Scared": if you knew these people were acting, why were you so scared? I can't imagine anyone would have gotten upset with you for simply walking by.

  • WTC
    October 09, 2012 - 16:18

    So you wanna be a cop? so you wanna be on the top arrestin and shootin' all the kids on the block incarcerate the youth of the next generation and you get the high fives at the police station so you wanna wear blue and prey on the people go above the constitution where all men are equal 'it's a thin blue line between the love and the hate if you so choose to cross it you're a nazi for the state

  • Tim
    October 09, 2012 - 15:42

    I have known the Moncton Male, aforesaid, my entire life. That aside, "...had failed to get a license permitting them to film." How many people, who read this article, even know of needing a license to film a private, non-profit, non-commercial film? Not only were they returning from filming, but the aforesaid "guns" were in bags, that were on their backs. I didn't know how a "high-risk takedown" was actually high-risk, as there's no way of these "guns" actually being used regardless of being real or not. Was it reasonable that the police look into it when they received a call? Yes. That's their job. But a "high-risk takedown" that "...could result in criminal charges."? I'm sure it was a misunderstanding since all the "guns" were not real, and only one was a pellet gun. If these men are criminally charged for filming a private film without obtaining a permit, (I've studied law for 2+ years, and I did not know about this), I will be ashamed on behalf of our founding fathers, who formed Canada in that very province. And I'm sure they would be ashamed as well, if they were still alive. These two men will not make that mistake again, regardless. And this is hardly a logical thing to give them a criminal record for. I am dedicating at least the next couple years of my life to the Canadian Forces because I love my country to that point. I am proud to be a Canadian, and I would die for my country. I would be appalled and disgusted if I got a criminal record for filming a video with basically toy guns, without getting a permit. I would die for my country and this is how I'd be treated by those I would die for? These men should be treated no differently than how I'd want to be treated. They are both Canadian citizens, who pose no threat to the public, and were filming a video. They made a mistake, which harmed absolutely no one, and I can guarantee you they learned from it. Spend our tax dollars on something better than criminally charging people for this.

  • Katherine
    October 09, 2012 - 14:39

    This is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard. True not having the proper permits can result in a situation like this any day of the week, but if there are cameras around and the guns are obviously fake, as I'm sure they were OBVIOUSLY not real considering I know both of these individuals and they're college students. Then people need to think before they act. Calling the police would definitely be a good idea IF they were real, but really, it's Charlottetown. People are really paranoid these days.

  • Donna
    October 09, 2012 - 13:21

    I'm sitting here just shaking my head. The authorities were unaware? I highly doubt that. A plastic TOY was perceived to be real? Right. All I can think of are lines from the song "For What It's Worth": Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid. Step outta line, the man come and take you away. Has my hometown become THAT paranoid?

    • DERPINGTON
      October 09, 2012 - 14:07

      Yes Donna, pei charlottetown is full of paranoid ditsy rednecks, and unfortunately all they do it bother people and call the police after jumping to their own misinformed conclusions.

  • DERPINGTON
    October 09, 2012 - 13:15

    This is ridiculous, I know both of the people from this story, I go to school with them every day. They are harmless, i know the full story, there where walking home alone with no visible fake weapons and the cops pulled up and scared the shit out of them. MY FRIEND STILL DIDN'T GET HIS CAMERA BACK, that crap is EXPENSIVE. high risk my ASSassins creed.

    • Donna
      October 09, 2012 - 16:37

      Derpington, I also know the director. He is my best friend. I'm at work so I can't reach him. Do you know if the camera was returned?

    • Kennit
      October 09, 2012 - 20:55

      As per his Facebook page, the camera has not yet been returned.

  • wife
    October 09, 2012 - 09:54

    okay people... ask questions and get facts first before calling names. 1) They were not filming at the cornor of University and Grafton. 2) cops had driven by them several times, while they were filming on University by Sidney St., and (the cops) had not stopped to question them while the props were out in the open. 3) props (which were all plastic toys) were put away, film was finished, and they were on the way home when they were arrested at gun point.

    • huh?
      October 09, 2012 - 12:40

      When people call the police for help, as in this case, it is because they felt fear of the unknown and we all know what guns can do. With so many nuts with real guns running around, I too would have called police and expect them to come in full force to the scene. Plastic guns or not, nice guys or not, they should have at least let the police know they were making the movie to avoid fear...or maybe even have posted a sign to let the public know it wasn't real. Obviously, the movie was all they were concerned about and the public be damned. Check out theposter identified as Scared, you get the picture. No thought for what the public might see or feel, just the film that counted. Hopefully their creative spirits thrive, but with a little bit of respect for the people in their area....even Hollywood knows that!

    • DERPINGTON
      October 09, 2012 - 14:46

      too "HUH?" what about all those little kids playing cops and robbers with cap guns from the dollar store (which is surprising close to what was really happening here). you need to think about what you say, these people where standing in the street with cameras and boom mics. people who look onto that and DON'T KNOW whats going on shouldn't be calling the police and should be taking their meds. Also how many shoot outs have you heard of in Charlottetown, i believe i can count the last 10 years worth on one hand. people here are paranoid, and rather stupid. its a Far cry from a Crysis, these guys dont have Dark Souls. I'm completely systemshocked by this, At least it wasn't grand theft auto. They should arrest the people who commit A True Crime. The way the police acted you would think these two where part of a splinter cell, with that many guns they could have been an Army of Two. This is a Little big Planet, It happens. They couldn't go to jail for a half life over this, its not like they declared Mortal Combat. The police where just answering the Call of Duty, but it seems only angry birds showed up, these guys are not Street Fighters and these streets are not Streets of Rage. The Fallout from these charges could send there future careers into Oblivion. this post if a fable, you're confusion frenzy is in the shadow of the Colossus, I am ready for your Counter Strike. Leave me Dead or Live, left four dead, dead rising, dead space, Evil Dead, Dead, to rights, Dead Island, Red Dead redemption, call of the dead, house of the dead, CSI: Deadly Intent, Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm, Def Jam: Icon

  • Dead Run
    October 09, 2012 - 09:07

    I know the big guy didn't mean any harm, but filming without a permit (especially with 'weapons' and especially around the Legislature buildings)? Can you imagine Quentin Tarantino filming something without notifying authorities and getting permits.. I have to side with the police on this one.. It's unfortunate it had to happen to that person, but maybe a valuable lesson will be learned.

  • wells
    October 09, 2012 - 08:07

    How silly - they have been 'shooting' for several days and it was interesting to watch them do their silly acting - someone is really paranoid here

  • Jarrod
    October 09, 2012 - 06:34

    The only film that comes to mind after reading that is "Dumb and Dumber."

  • Glen from North York
    October 09, 2012 - 05:51

    Filming without a permit. And With weapons!!! ...CUT !!! ... Take Two !!!

  • Tommy Thompson
    October 08, 2012 - 22:52

    I know one of the film makers involved and he is one of the nicest people you could ever meet and not stupid as some people on this message board would conclude. The police tackled both of these men after they had finished up filming and had everything packed up...really makes sense..? Never believe half or most of what you hear from the guardian, a lot of it is heresay.

  • don
    October 08, 2012 - 22:49

    I happen to know the 52 year old male mentioned in this "High risk takedown". They were using fake (pretend) weapons for a movie, and also, 'common sense' would indicate that if you were making a movie that involved gunfights, you would try to use props that look like real guns. I do agree, they could have made it more aware to the authorities and the public that a movie filming was going on, but I don't think people should be arrested for having pretend plastic guns either, and you do not need a permit for pretend guns.

  • Aryanna
    October 08, 2012 - 21:58

    Maybe the video camera should have tipped off the "concerned public"?

    • intobed
      October 09, 2012 - 11:19

      Yep, good plan Aryanna. So everyone, the next time you see people with guns downtown out in the open, move in closer so you can get a good view and look for video cameras. If you don't see any, they are probably hidden. Be prepared to applaud when the shooting starts and people start screaming and falling.

  • dm
    October 08, 2012 - 21:41

    if only everyone used common sense indeed

  • Mark Ghiz
    October 08, 2012 - 21:40

    I really hope they got the take down on film.. Perhaps that was all part of the plan. A police take down caught on tape for the movie.

  • Cannot believe the stupidity
    October 08, 2012 - 21:30

    Grafton and University.... so they were right beside the PEI Legislature brandishing what appeared to be live weaponry. Wow. These two are both the stupidest and luckiest newsmakers of the year. If this was any other province, they might have been shot on sight by law enforcement.

    • Nick
      October 08, 2012 - 22:15

      No one is ever shot on sight, . Suspects tend to be asked to drop thier weapons, if they are even in possession of real ones. This is just silly. some people were making a movie, and they got arrested.

    • Josh
      October 08, 2012 - 22:37

      I find it highly unlikely that the police would have shot these individuals simply for brandishing weapons in public. Had these two fools actually POINTED one of these "guns" at the responding police officers then they would likely have been shot.

  • Shellie Brown-e
    October 08, 2012 - 20:49

    L M A O - extremely dangerous - L M A O - L O L, Ha Ha Ha Ha, HA ! Ch'town P D COULD Have And Should have better handled this what is now making Them (again) the Laughing Stock of the Maritime Provinces, L M A O ! ! !

  • Scared
    October 08, 2012 - 19:27

    I came out of a building on University Ave downtown and this individual had a number of people with fake guns acting. Scared me a lot. I said What the hell? but this guy i think was more upset than me . Guess i messed up his scene No apologies to me Keep this guy off the street ! Let him find a studio. In tgis day and age, guns of any sort scare people.

  • Kristen
    October 08, 2012 - 17:50

    Props to the cops for being on the ball with this one - seeing guns in downtown Charlottetown would prompt me to do the same and call the police.

  • hammike
    October 08, 2012 - 17:25

    Common sense is not as common as the term would indicate.