Accident after replica gun incident

A group of teenagers who reportedly aimed a replica gun at a pedestrian in Hermosa Beach at around noon on Sunday, Dec. 8, shortly after rammed into a Manhattan Beach Police Department SUV while fleeing from authorities, officials said. (Photo courtesy of the Manhattan Beach Police Department)

A group of teenagers in a car reportedly pointed what turned out to be a toy assault rifle at a pedestrian in Hermosa Beach on Sunday, officials said, then shortly after hit a police SUV in Manhattan Beach while fleeing from authorities.

At around 12:30 p.m., officials got the initial call about suspects in a gray BMW pointing a weapon out of the car’s window and threatening a person on a sidewalk in Hermosa Beach. The nearby Manhattan Beach Police Department also kept an eye out for the vehicle, said Sgt. Tim Zins of Manhattan Beach police.

A sergeant on duty saw the vehicle and suspects matching the description near 2nd Street and Sepulveda Boulevard shortly after, according to Zins.

“The car took off, fled from the sergeant and ended up going approximately six blocks,” Zins said, when the sergeant lost sight of the vehicle. “It ended up terminating when one of our officers was turning the corner and the BMW crashed into the front of the police car.”

The collision was an accident, Zins said, but the suspect vehicle coincidentally hit the front bumper of the police SUV commonly used during pursuits. The crash happened near 10th Street and Peck Avenue, he said.

No one was injured, according to Zins.

“The push bumper did its job,” he said.

The officer in the SUV then conducted a felony traffic stop, bringing out the four occupants safely. That’s when they discovered the weapon in the vehicle was actually a toy gun with an orange tip, Zins said.

Officers always exercise caution when there may a weapon involved, he said, whether or not it’s reported to be a toy gun. In this case, the initial person who called authorities about the threat believed it was real, Zins said.

“Children playing at home with a toy gun is a different situation than four teenagers in a vehicle pointing what could or could not be a real weapon at people on the street,” he said.

Also, there have been reports in the past in which criminals painted the tip of a gun with orange paint to fake out law enforcement.

“Until we know exactly what we’re dealing with,” he said, “we have to go with what the initial caller stated.”

The four people in the car were detained at the scene, Zins said. Except for one person, it wasn’t known how many were booked for charges.

The suspect who pointed the replica gun was arrested, but it wasn’t immediately known what he was booked on, Zins said.

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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