New Brunswick

13-year-old boy arrested on firearms charge after lockdown at Fredericton mall

A 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection to a firearms call at the Regent Mall on Saturday, which resulted in a heavy police presence as officers secured the area to make sure there was no continuing threat to the public.

Boy to appear in youth justice court to answer to charge of pointing a firearm

A 13-year-old boy will appear in court later on a charge of pointing a firearm. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection to a call about someone pulling a gun at the Regent Mall in Fredericton on Saturday, which led to police locking down the area for hours that afternoon.

The boy, who can't be identified because of provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was arrested and later released but will appear in youth justice court in September.

He is to be charged with pointing a firearm, Fredericton police said in a news release Tuesday.

At about 4 p.m. Saturday, Fredericton police and New Brunswick RCMP responded to the Regent Mall for reports that an altercation had taken place and a firearm had been seen, police said.

Officers secured the mall and evacuated people from the building, while others inside were told to shelter in place.

The Fredericton Police Force's emergency response team conducted a thorough search of the building to ensure there was no longer a threat to public safety, police say.

Police say they determined the initial altercation involved two groups of youth, and the suspect who had the gun left the mall before the police arrived.

The weapon was seized and was determined to be a replica firearm, or an air-powered BB gun.

The Fredericton Police Force said the gun that was allegedly shown at the Regent Mall was an air-powered BB replica handgun. (Submitted by the Fredericton Police Force)

A photo police included with the news release shows a handgun with a black handle and chrome slide.

"It is often very difficult to distinguish replica firearms from the real thing, and when used in the commission of a crime, there is no difference under the Criminal Code between an authentic and a replica firearm,"  police said in the release.

"Parents and guardians should remind children that the implications for misuse of these weapons are very serious. While air-powered firearms are readily available for public use without a firearms licence, it is important to note that care should be taken to use them properly, and certainly not for fun or to threaten public safety."

Police are asking anyone with information about the investigation to call the Fredericton Police Force at 460-2300, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, to remain anonymous.