Man with a gun turned out to be 'Mexican rebel'
A teenager who dressed up as a "Mexican rebel" for a party was shocked when armed police stormed his Christchurch flat to search for his plastic gun.
Macaulay Newberry, 19, said police with "machineguns" and dogs gatecrashed his dress-up party in Riccarton about 6.30pm on Saturday, July 14, in search of an "armed gunman".
The theme of the party was dress up as the first letter of your first name, and Newberry had hired a "massive sombrero" and a Mexican cape from a costume shop and bought a plastic gun from a $2 Shop.
"The gun was just part of the costume. I was a Mexican rebel," he said.
About 6pm, the plasterer was standing on the street with his girlfriend waiting for friends to arrive. The pair were dressed up, and Newberry had his "half-metre plastic rifle" slung over his shoulder.
Half an hour later he was back in the flat having a drink when his friend said: "The cops are outside and they are looking for you."
"I went out thinking it was one of my friends dressed up as a cop, but it was the actual police standing there with machineguns and stuff," he said.
"It was the first time I had seen cops with machineguns."
Although the police presence had offered some "excitement for the night", Newberry was shocked someone had reported his plastic rifle to the police when it "would have been so obvious we were having a dress-up party".
Police confirmed eight officers and a police dog had attended the party after receiving a report a man was on the street with a firearm.
Unfortunately, "the caller had failed to mention the guy with the ‘gun' had a massive sombrero on his head", a police spokesman said.
Sergeant Raewyn Walker was one of the attending officers and said the armed response was "completely standard" because of the seriousness of the report.
"There was no mention of dress-up or the sombrero from the caller, but when a member of the public sees a firearm, that's the focus of their attention and I can fully understand why they would react the way they did," she said. "Anyone in a similar situation would be right to call the police."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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