13-year-old boy charged in connection to incident at Fredericton’s Regent Mall

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Fredericton police say they have arrested a 13-year-old in connection with an incident at Regent Mall on Saturday.

The 13-year-old boy, who cannot be identified due to his age, was released from police custody and will appear in Youth Justice Court in September to answer to a charge of pointing a firearm.

The Fredericton Police Force says around 4 p.m. on July 3, officers responded to the Regent Mall for a report that an altercation had taken place and a firearm had been observed.

After an investigation, police say they determined the initial altercation involved two groups of youth, and that the suspect, carrying what appeared to be a firearm, had left the mall prior to police arrival. The weapon seized was later identified as an air-powered BB gun.

"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 a release.

The mall and the immediate area were evacuated, while others inside were directed to shelter in place.

Fredericton Police say their Emergency Response Team conducted a thorough search of the building to ensure that there was no ongoing threat to public safety.

"Parents and guardians should remind children that the implications for misuse of these weapons are very serious," reads the release.

"While air-powered firearms are readily available for public use without a firearms license, 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 on the investigation to call Fredericton Police Force or Crime Stoppers.