Kids with toy guns spark panic in Albany

Kids with toy guns spark panic in Albany

ALBANY, Ore. - Police locked down the Albany campus of Linn-Benton Community College after getting reports of a man wearing full military camoflauge running along the streets firing a rifle.

"I thought for sure we had a legitimate situation at that time," said Sgt. Alan Lynn with the Albany Police Department. Callers reported a gunman "wearing all military clothing and carrying an assault-style rifle heading toward Linn Benton Community College.

Police lifted the lockdown less than a half hour later after finding out the cause for alarm: two kids "playing military," said Capt. Eric Carter with the Albany Police Department.

Before learning there wasn't any actual danger, Albany police threw everything they had at the situation.

"We had the entire patrol team out there. The detective unit. Members of community, school resource officer. Every officer available," Carter said.

Police quickly learned they weren't dealing with a dangerous suspect. The culprits: 8-year-old James Hargett and 11-year-old Angelo Martinez.

"They told us that LBCC was on lockdown and everyone was in shock and I was like woah," said Martinez said.

Police said the boys had just watched "Heartbreak Ridge" and were playing with a replica M60. The gun was painted black but had an orange tip on the barrel.

From 25 yards away, police said, you can't tell the difference between the toy and a real gun.

Carter said the kids were running through the streets, squatting behind bushes and cars, pretending to be engaged in a street battle. They had toy rifles that "look like the real thing," he said.

"I'm on this side right here patrolling the area seeing if anyone is on tha side and he's on this area seeing if anyone is hiding under the stairs," Martinez said.

The lesson: don't play games like this one in a public place.

"Clearly, we're hoping to express to them there are better places to play these type of games," Carter said.