PD: Man shot by cop in Phoenix armed with 'replica handguns'

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Police said a suspect pointed a gun at an officer and the suspect was shot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Police said a suspect pointed a gun at an officer and the suspect was shot. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Police say the man arrested in connection with an officer-involved shooting in Phoenix Monday was armed with “replica handguns.”

The man, whose name has not been released, is facing a charge of aggravated assault on an officer, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

The incident happened the afternoon of Monday, July 9, 2018, at an apartment complex in the area of Seventh Street and Greenway Parkway.

[ORIGINAL STORY: PD: Suspect hospitalized, no officers hurt in officer-involved shooting]

Officers were responding to a report of shots fired and had information about a man with two handguns.

The 35-year-old suspect “was seen peering through the blinds at officers as they approached,” according to Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department. “Just as one officer crossed in front of the apartment door, the suspect opened the door and pointed a handgun at the officer.”

Lewis said the officer moved out of the line of fire and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. He did not.

“The suspect exited the apartment and charged at the officer with the gun raised,” Lewis explained in an email to media outlets. “The officer fired his service weapon, striking the suspect and ending the threat.”

[SPECIAL SECTION: Officer-involved shootings in 2018]

Lewis said the man’s injury was not believed to be life-threatening.

Investigators did not know the man’s handguns were replicas until they were “recovered at the scene” as part of the shooting investigation.

It's not the first time a police officer has believed a replica gun to be real. In April 2016, Time did a story about the difficulties distinguishing between replica guns and real ones. Although federal regulations in 1989 require realistic-looking fake guns to have an orange plug in the muzzle or an orange marking on the barrel near the muzzle, it's possible for consumers to remove them.

Confusion between fake and real guns has happened all over the country, including here in Arizona.

Earlier this year, police arrested an 18-year-old Coronado High School student for making a threat on social media.

Officials said Fabian Delgado published a photo of himself holding a fake assault rifle. The photo was accompanied with the text "Don't go to school tomorrow."

It wasn't until police contacted Delgado and interviewed him that they were able to determine the gun he was holding in the photo is an airsoft rifle, not an actual assault weapon.

[READ MORE: PD: Scottsdale student arrested after posing with fake gun, making threat on social media]

The 26-year-old officer involved in Monday's shooting has been with Phoenix PD two years, according to Lewis.


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