Halifax Regional Police has charged a man in relation to a weapons complaint involving reports of a man walking on the Linear Pathway in Clayton Park and Fairview with a long gun(s) on his back yesterday.
At 9:24 a.m. a citizen called police advising that she had witnessed a man in fatigues walking on the path near the end of Westridge Drive with a long gun on his back. Shortly thereafter, police received a second report of a man with one or two long guns on his back walking on the path in the area of Veronica Drive and Main Avenue.
Multiple police units, including the Emergency Response Team, K-9 and Patrol, flooded the area to investigate the situation and help ensure the safety of citizens. At 10:25 a.m. officers arrested a man on the pathway in the area of Westridge Drive matching the description of the suspect. He was carrying what appeared to be a number of assault rifles that have since been determined to be airsoft guns.
As a result of the investigation by investigators in the General Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division, 35-year-old Jason Keith Gillespie of Halifax faces charges of possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace and mischief. He was held in custody overnight and will appear in Halifax Provincial Court today.
Halifax Regional Police thanks citizens for their cooperation while officers were on scene responding to and investigating this incident. This situation caused fear and disruption to our community and involved a significant use of police resources. The citizens who reported the incident did the right thing by reporting this matter to 9-1-1 and when police receive a report of weapon, we must operate under the assumption that the weapon is real until we are able to prove otherwise. As one of our Twitter followers aptly put it, “The guns may not have been real but the fear was.”
Yesterday’s incident is a reminder that gun and/or marksmanship enthusiasts should take necessary precautions and abide by all laws when carrying or using real or imitation firearms, including HRM By-Law P-600 Respecting Municipal Parks which prohibits a person being in possession of or using any firearm, air gun, bow and arrow, axe or offensive weapon of any kind in a municipal park or trail. We understand that some people have an interest in marksmanship which could entail dressing the part; however, we urge them to do so responsibly so they don’t alarm their fellow citizens and unnecessarily tie up police resources.
The picture below shows three types of airsoft guns. These are not the weapons seized in yesterday’s incident but are of similar types (long gun, assault weapon, and pistol). These airsoft guns were previously seized in Halifax in other incidents.