On May 26, 2016 at about 8:36 pm, the Azusa Police Department received a call from a Neighborhood Watch group about an occupied suspicious vehicle in the area of Vosburg Street and Gardenia Avenue, in the Rosedale community of Azusa.
Officers, who have been saturating the area with extra-patrols, immediately responded and located the vehicle, which was occupied by five people.
An investigation began while speaking with the occupants, which led to the searching of the vehicle. Hidden inside the vehicle was a replica firearm, which at first sight, appeared to be real. It was determined the replica firearm belonged to a 15 year-old juvenile, who was one of the occupants of the vehicle.
The juvenile was arrested for violation of section 46-432 of the Azusa Municipal Code, which specifies juveniles are not to be in possession of replica firearms. The remaining occupants were identified and released at the scene.
It’s Not Just A Replica Firearm
All too often, the news is laced with tragic stories in which people have been in possession of a replica firearm, and subsequently injured or killed because there was no way to tell the difference between a real firearm and a replica firearm.
Can you imagine if the officer had seen a portion of this firearm laying on the floor of the vehicle while speaking with the occupants? What if the juvenile, in an attempt to show the officer it was only a replica, reached down to pull the firearm out from under the seat?
We’re sure you’re asking the same question as we did, and that’s “Why?” Why is a 15 year-old juvenile and 4 other people, in a parked vehicle near a park and walking trail, with a replica firearm?
It’s not just a replica firearm…
A Few Hours Earlier
Earlier in the day, the police department received a call of another suspicious male in the west side of the city, who checked a vehicle’s door to see if he could get into the vehicle.
After failing to gain entry into the vehicle, the male continued walking through the neighborhood until arriving officers could catch up to him. While being detained, officers discovered the male was in possession of a concealed, loaded firearm. He was arrested for the weapon violation, and taken to jail.
Can You Tell The Difference?
Below are the weapons involved in these two incidents. Sure, those familiar with firearms would be able to tell the difference at the particular angle the photos were taken. However, no one, regardless of expertise, would be able to tell the difference in other various situations.
Use Caution When Your Suspicion Is Up
Whether you are a member of a neighborhood watch group, or just a concerned resident or business owner, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of calling the police, versus confronting suspicious people. In this case, the residents did the right thing - and called the police. You never know what a person may have in their possession, their intentions, or their mental stability. That’s why our department exists, and the purpose of 911.
Call the police and allow us to deal with the situation.