A fake gun that has been altered for use as a movie prop appeared a little too realistic for sheriff’s deputies — and the Malibu beachgoers who saw it this week.
After a man was reported “waving a handgun near other people” by Point Dume Nature Preserve in Malibu (map) on Thursday morning, authorities responded in force.
Park rangers, deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter began searching for the gunman in nearby cliffs, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday afternoon.
“Deputies soon saw a suspect pointing a handgun at the head of a young woman who had her hands raised in the air at Little Dume Beach,” the news release stated. “A person nearby was holding a camera and filming them.”
The seven people who were detained said they were college students shooting a film for school, but they did not have a permit and had not given notice to law enforcement, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
There were “no signs indicating it was a film project and for the public not to be concerned,” the news release stated.
And the replica handgun had its telltale orange tip — designed to reveal it as a fake — removed, authorities said.
A 20-year old film student from Valencia was arrested on suspicion of removing the safety tip from an imitation firearm, a misdemeanor.