Pointing a toy gun out a car window at another car ended up putting a motorist at the wrong end of real guns held by police officers and State Highway Patrol Troopers on Tuesday.
No arrests were made in the incident, but Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan said one motorist learned a valuable lesson that should be taken to heart by many.
“In this day in age, when people see a gun, they generally assume it's real,” Dagnan said at Tuesday's Carthage City Council meeting. “There's a good chance if you point a pretend gun at someone, that person might assume it's real.”
That's what happened at the intersection of Central and Francis avenues on Tuesday afternoon.
Officers received a 9-1-1 call from a motorist who said someone in another car pointed a gun out the window at him or her while stopped at the stoplight pointed west.
The caller was able to give a good description of the vehicle and Dagnan happened to be driving on Central some distance away, so he started the pursuit.
Dagnan said he caught up to the suspect vehicle, but by the time he did, it was outside the Carthage city limits headed west on Highway 171.
“He was driving the speed limit and I didn't feel comfortable stopping the vehicle without backup,” Dagnan said. “I followed him until the highway patrol initiated the stop.”
Dagnan said officers ordered the man out of the car at gunpoint in what's called a felony car stop because they weren't sure what had happened and whether there was a real gun in the vehicle.
The man got out and officers found the “Airsoft” air gun the man said he pointed at the vehicle.
When the person who called 9-1-1 was told it was a toy, that person decided not to press charges and the man who had been stopped was released.