Man tackled after firing air gun near Halifax bus stop
Published Friday, January 4, 2013 1:56PM AST
Last Updated Friday, January 4, 2013 7:00PM AST
A Halifax man is behind bars after being accused of terrorizing several people near a Metro Transit bus terminal.
Police responded to a complaint that a man had tried to rob an elderly woman at the bus terminal on Mumford Road after 5 p.m. Thursday.
The woman fled the scene before the man took any items.
Witnesses told police the suspect confronted several other people in the area and started shooting plastic pellets at them with an air gun.
“I just heard ‘pop, pop pop’,” says Sid Cogswell, who was leaving a nearby Walmart when he spotted a man with a gun in the parking lot.
“He was walking up the parking lot, he showed someone the gun, and they screamed.”
Cogswell says he followed the suspect across the parking lot to the bus stop, as the man continued to fire the gun and threaten people.
That’s when Cogswell pulled out his cellphone and started to film the incident.
The video shows a bystander wrestling the suspect to the ground and two security guards, who were patrolling the area, holding him down while waiting for police to arrive on the scene.
“We commend their actions because they probably saved a lot of people a lot of heartache and commotion in the area,” says Const. Pierre Bourdages of the Halifax Regional Police.
No one was injured, but people in the area were shaken up.
“You have to understand, these airsoft guns are made to be a perfect replica of normal weapons,” says Bourdages. “So it becomes very stressful and traumatic for people confronted with that kind of weapon.”
He also says Cogswell did the right thing when he captured the incident on his cellphone.
Police arrested 32-year-old James MacPhee at the scene and recovered an airsoft pistol.
MacPhee appeared in court today to face a robbery charge and several weapons charges. He has been sent for an assessment and is due back in court Jan. 21.
MacPhee is known to police and has been charged 86 times in the past. He has been to jail 21 times on charges ranging from assault causing bodily harm and theft to dangerous driving and fleeing police.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Alyse Hand