Police chief asks public to consider risks of pellet guns that look like revolvers

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WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Everest Metro Police Department has released photos of a pellet gun found during a traffic stop on Monday. A person called police and reported someone wearing a gun in their waistband at DC Everest Senior High, after which 17-year-old Dominic Sprague was arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon on school property.

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Everest Metro police chief Clay Schulz says incidents like this highlight an increasing danger for both officers and the public.

"We don't know if it's real, we don't know their intentions," Schulz said. "I'm asking you to look at it from an officer's point of view, when it's generally at night, there's heightened awareness...and you have to make a split-second decision."

The revolver-style pellet gun officers picked up Monday night is nearly indistinguishable from an actual revolver, Schulz pointed out, until it can be seen close enough to discern the manufacturer and CO2 gas cartridge.

"The general public doesn't know if it's real, we don't know their intentions, and when we get called, we have to treat it the same," he noted.

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Toy guns legally have to have orange tips, but BB and pellet guns like the one in question aren't considered toys. Under Wisconsin law, pellet guns are classified as dangerous weapons, but not firearms. Like guns, they are not allowed on school property.

For Schulz, he sees it as an issue that some juveniles aren't taking seriously enough.

"One of the juveniles made a comment that they thought it would be funny. Well, there's nothing humorous about this; people take it seriously and it's a great concern," he noted. "Kids who are doing this type of behavior need to really think the consequences through."

Dominic Sprague is accused of having the pellet gun in his waistband while driving through the D.C. Everest parking lot on Aug. 19. He was arrested off of school grounds while driving with two other juveniles. He's charged with disorderly conduct and possessing a dangerous weapon at school; both charges are misdemeanors. He's free on a $2,500 signature bond and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.