San Diego, CA — A woman was arrested recently after brandishing what appeared to be a handgun. She was reported to have shot several rounds near a parking garage — according to the police, it was later discovered that her weapon was in fact an airsoft gun. One police officer was injured when he accidentally discharged his weapon, but besides that there were no reported injuries.
Though the incident happened near the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon finish line, police have determined that it was unrelated to the race.
The suspect was believed to be the same assailant from a previous hit and run, which was reported to a police officer at the marathon. He followed the vehicle to the entrance of a parkade, but the vehicle was not able to enter due to traffic. As the officer approached the vehicle, he was met by the barrel of an airsoft gun, though he did not know that it wasn’t a real gun at the time. Just then, the traffic cleared and the suspect drove their vehicle into the parkade.
The officer got backup, and a “team” went to confront the suspect in the parking garage. This is when one of the officers accidentally discharged their weapons, wounding himself. Meanwhile, another officer spotted the suspect, who they believed at the time to be armed with an actual handgun. He fired at her, but missed. Soon, she threw her gun off the parkade and into the street, where it broke into pieces, including a CO2 canister, where officers would discover that it was a airsoft gun.
She was then taken into custody.
The wounded officer is expected to recover.
The police are currently downloading and reviewing the body-worn cameras as well as aerial footage, and more details will come to light as the facts become clear.
From the perspective of the police officers, it is understandable to mistake an airsoft gun for a real gun. As this was happening, one officer heard a loud noise, and wasn’t sure if it was a gunshot or if it was a car slamming over a metal grate. These types of situations are extremely volatile and the officers cannot simply assume that a weapon may not be a deadly firearm.
Since then the facts have been released, and it was made clear that the assailant was using an airsoft gun. However, this has largely gone unreported by some of the larger mainstream media groups. Here are a few articles that left the “airsoft” piece out, written and/or edited after the police briefing that mentions that this was not a deadly firearm:
BBC News — BBC says the reports of it being an “air pistol” were from “other media reports,” when it was the police who confirmed it was an airsoft gun. They are leaving readers with the “active shooter” headline.
Huffington Post — This article does mention the airsoft gun, but it mentions it at the very end. Prior to several embedded tweets and a lengthy description of what happened, acting as if the weapon was in fact a real gun, phrases like “fired multiple gunshots” and “active shooter” are used — the type of weapon seems to be a footnote here.
To go even further, the Khaleej Times, an English United Arab Emirates newspaper, did not mention the airsoft gun and made sure the featured image was of an American flag patterned holster holding a pistol.
In contrast, the San Diego Union-Tribune published a report as is typically expected: the broad-stroke, overall facts first, followed by a more detailed account. At SOFREP, we consider the fact that a weapon was non-lethal to be a fairly important detail. The New York Post also has kept close tabs on the facts of the situation.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of every news outlet in the world that reported on this subject. In the last hour or two of writing this article, some have updated their articles but retained their “active shooter” or “gunfire reported” headlines.
Again, these article were published or edited after the public police statement, in which a reporter very clearly asks the detective whether or not it was an airsoft gun, and he very clearly answers. You can find this statement at 9:55, though we at SOFREP would recommend watching the entire video if you want an accurate, play-by-play of what happened from the police.
Update briefing regarding incident at Rock N Roll Marathon. https://t.co/ZAhXIiilMe
— San Diego Police Department (@SanDiegoPD) June 3, 2018
Update: Though the original Fox article remains the same, Fox5 has mentioned the airsoft gun in theirs.
Featured image: People walk under police tape after a San Diego police officer accidentally shot himself in the leg while pursuing a hit-and-run suspect who pointed a weapon at police and was eventually arrested on the roof of a parking structure near the finish line of an annual marathon, authorities said, Sunday, June 3, 2018, in San Diego. |Julie Watson/Associated Press