Indian-American brandishing gun at gay pride parade held

Updated: Jun 11, 2019, 12:49 IST | Agencies

The police arrested him and seized his BB gun -- a type of air gun designed to shoot metallic ball projectiles -- from his brown bag. He has been charged with the illegal possession of a BB gun

Indian-American brandishing gun at gay pride parade held
Representational picture

Washington: A 38-year-old Indian-American was arrested here for threatening a person with a BB gun and causing a stampede during a gay pride parade, leaving several people injured as thousands of participants fled in panic fearing a mass shooter. Aftabjit Singh pulled out the gun after another person allegedly threatened his "significant other" in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood of Washington, DC, police said.

The police arrested him and seized his BB gun -- a type of air gun designed to shoot metallic ball projectiles -- from his brown bag. He has been charged with the illegal possession of a BB gun, carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. He is due in court on Monday. Singh claimed "he pulled out the gun on an unidentified individual who was hitting his significant other", the police said. Officers arrested a second person -- Melissa Duffy, 43, -- who identified herself as Singh's "significant other" on a single charge of 'Assault on A Police Officer-Simple Assault', Washington Blade news reported. Duffy, whom police identified as 'suspect 1', was contacted after Singh's arrest. "Suspect 1 began to become irate and started to kick and scream towards officers. Suspect 1 kicked Victim 1 (a police officer) in the chest and right arm causing the listed injuries," the report said, adding that "all parties refused medical treatment".

Chaotic scene were seen in downtown Washington DC Saturday after word spread like a wildfire among the thousands of participants of the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) pride parade that someone was carrying a gun. The city police on Sunday said Singh pulled the BB gun after another person allegedly threatened his significant other. The alert police immediately arrested him and his BB gun was captured from his brown bag. According to the NBC Washington, numerous people told News4 that they heard gunshots, but police said there was no evidence of a shooting. "Police say one concerned citizen flagged down an officer, Blaise Maio, and pointed out Singh and a brown bag under a tree. Maio saw the suspect head towards the bag and stopped him. In the partially open bag, Maio reported he saw what appeared to be a silver handgun," the news report said.

"It was later determined that the gun was not a real handgun, but an imitation pistol that Singh identified as a BB gun," the news report said. Police said although no gunshots were fired, hundreds of people ran in panic, knocking down police barricades in the stampede fearing that a gunman had opened fire on the crowd of revellers. Seven people were taken to hospitals for injuries they suffered while fleeing, authorities said. According to the police, while in custody, Singh threatened to shoot the person who had threatened his "significant other". As he was led away in handcuffs, Singh vowed to come back. "I will be back," he said according to police report. Gay pride is celebrated globally in June, with people organising parades on or around June 28, the anniversary of a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York City in 1969.

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