The Ottumwa Courier

April 23, 2014

Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents

Ottumwa Courier

---- — FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real.

According to a release from the police department, the immediate area was shut down until the guns were located at both locations, and at no time were children walking home from school in any danger. If the calls would have been received prior to school being let out, the police department said, they would have contacted the elementary schools and had the schools hold the students until the area was safe.

The first incident happened at 3:32 p.m. in the 500 block of West Madison Avenue. A 20-year-old male was showing his teenage friends two pellet rifles that were similar to a .22 rifle. The youths were located inside a residence and cooperated with police.

The second incident happened at 4:06 p.m. in the 300 block of South C Street. A 12-year-old youth was walking down the street carrying a pellet gun that looked like an AR-15. The youth was ordered to the ground at gunpoint.

The release warned that in both calls, a tragic incident could have occurred if the subjects not complied with police directives or pointed the pellet guns at officers.

"At some point, common sense must prevail, and youth must be educated on how to handle guns responsibly. In light of all the recent shootings, people are very cautious when people are handling guns — whether real or not — especially in the vicinity of our schools. One parent commented that his child’s gun had the orange marking on the end of the barrel. However, the kid had covered the orange marking with tape to make it look real. In the other incident, there was no orange marking on the barrel. All law enforcement agencies have received cautions that 'bad guys' are painting the barrels of real guns orange to make them look like toys. Now the rule of thumb is that if the gun looks real, treat it as real until officers can discern otherwise," the release stated.

Any gun, real or not, that shoots a projectile is illegal to shoot within the Fairfield city limits.