Officers handcuff Sanibel man over Airsoft gun

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Officers swarmed a Sanibel homeowner’s property and held him at gunpoint while putting him in handcuffs in his own driveway Tuesday evening.

“Police showed up because I had an airsoft gun,” the man said. “A neighbor saw it. I wasn’t even shooting it.”

When WINK News arrived on the scene, Sanibel police and Lee County Sheriff’s deputies were surrounding the perimeter of the home on Yachtsman Drive with assault-style weapons drawn.

“I was eating dinner and they came up and pulled me out of the house onto the ground. You’re handcuffing me in my own driveway? It’s like my neighborhood, you know? I’ve lived here for 40 years. It’s kinda stupid.” he said.

The homeowner wasn’t charged with any offenses.

According to the Sanibel police report, a neighbor heard shots fired and contacted the police. Police were told that a man was seen carrying an assault-style rifle, was firing the weapon.

When police and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the address, they located a gun inside a truck outside, according to the report.

A man then appeared in the doorway and police then, “handcuffed him for officer safety.”

Police performed a “safety sweep” of the home and were unable to locate any other weapons or people, according to the report.

The man admitted to using the airsoft rifle to shoot and kill palm rats.

The BB gun had the orange portion of the barrel painted over in black making it indistinguishable from an assault rifle.

Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton urges citizens to refrain from this type activity. “Although this was not an illegal situation, it creates an extremely dangerous position for our citizens and officers to be in. This situation was completely avoidable.”

WINK News reporter Andrea Henderson was live in the Sanibel neighborhood where the incident took place. Watch the full segment above.

The Airsoft BB gun replica of an assault-style rifle with the bright colored end painted black. Credit: Sanibel PD

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