A 35-year-old Halifax man has been charged after police found him walking along a popular hiking trail to target shoot carrying what looked like assault weapons.

Jason Keith Gillespie was in court Wednesday morning, almost 24 hours after he was arrested in Clayton Park West.

Const. Pierre Bourdages says police received two separate reports Tuesday morning of a man, who was spotted near Westridge Drive.

In the first report at 9:24 a.m. AT, a witness saw a man wearing camouflage clothes carrying what appeared to be a long gun on a path near the end of Westridge Drive.

A short time later, police received a second report of a man who had one or two long guns walking on the path in the area of Veronica Drive and Main Avenue.

Clayton Park Police

HRP Const. Pierre Bourdages says police received two separate reports of a man, who was wearing camouflage and carrying a long gun near Westridge Drive. (Yvonne Colbert/CBC)

Police swarmed the area, traffic was cut off, people were ordered back into their homes and public facilities were in lockdown.

An hour after the first sighting, a man walked out of the woods and surrendered without incident.

The guns turned out to be realistic imitations, but Const. Pierre Bourdage says it was a dangerous situation.

"Even from short distance away, someone that's highly trained would have a hard time determining this is a real weapon or not," he says. "We have to treat them as real weapon. We have no choice."

Gillespie has been charged with mischief and possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace.

Bourdages says police believe Gillespie was not trying to mimic the Moncton tragedy where a gunman deliberately appeared to lure police and shoot at them. Instead, they believe Gillespie was going into the woods to target shoot.

"When they're used by the proper people in the proper environment, it's good," Bourdage says. "When they're openly carried on the street, it's of great concern. It alarms people, alarms police, nothing good can come out of it."

Gillespie is due back in court Oct. 23. He has been released on $1,000 bond and as a condition, he must stay off all paths and trails in the Halifax region.