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Man arrested after brandishing gun-style lighter at New West SkyTrain stop

Police say they treat any suspected firearm as real, are seeking further witnesses to incident
Police in New Westminster arrested two people on April 10, 2024, after witnesses reported a man in possession of what appeared to be a handgun. The gun turned out to be a handgun-style lighter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Rourke

Several bystanders called 911 in New Westminster Wednesday morning (April 10) after they saw a man in possession of what appeared to be a handgun.

Officers rushed to the 800-block of Carnarvon Street at about 7:30 a.m., where the first 911 caller said they had seen the man arguing with a woman. The witness said they had feared for the woman’s safety.

By the time police arrived, the suspect was already gone, but several more 911 calls from transit users let them know the man had moved to the Columbia SkyTrain Station, less than a kilometre away.

Officers made there way to the station, where they found the man and quickly discovered his alleged handgun was in fact a gun-shaped butane lighter.

Still, the New Westminster Police Department says its officers arrested two people at the station.

“When someone brandishes something that looks like a handgun in a public setting they’re putting themselves and everyone around them at risk. In the interest of public safety, we treat any suspected firearm as real,” Sgt. Andrew Leaver said in a news release.

The department is asking any witnesses who they haven’t already spoken to, to reach out.

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