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OBSERVER QUESNEL - CARIBOO

2008 WINNER

SINCE 1908

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

VOL. 97 NO. 59

www.quesnelobserver.com

$ 19

1 + 5% GST

Innocent Rodney Moffat’s toy gun draws police heat AUTUMN MacDONALD Observer Reporter

Rodney Moffat clutches the toy gun which caused RCMP officers to arrest him at gunpoint. Autumn MacDonald photo

THE ACTION STARTS APRIL 8th

see the April 7th issue of this newspaper.

The father of a mentally challenged, 90-pound Quesnel man is enraged after RCMP arrested his son at gunpoint. The apprehension occurred Monday afternoon after a neighbour claimed to have seen a man carrying a gun by the mobile home park near Correlieu Secondary. Rodney Moffat, 49, was walking past the school, to a store to buy milk when police apprehended him. “They, they threw me down,” Rodney sobbed as he spoke to the Observer. “They handcuffed me. They yelled at me.” Afterwards, Rodney was taken to hospital, where he was treated with tranquilizers. On Tuesday, he was icing his wrist and bruised ribs. The ordeal began when Rodney was outside his home, playing with a neon orange and silver plastic toy space gun, which Rodney had tucked into the waist of his pants. A neighbour mistook the gun and called RCMP. Before they arrived, Rodney had returned the toy gun to his house, then embarked on his journey for milk. Rodney’s parents – Eva and Karl – cannot believe police arrested their son. “Can’t they tell the difference?” Karl said, shaking his head. Karl, a retired police officer of 31 years with the Windsor Police Department, moved his family to the Quesnel area 16 years ago. “Rodney’s been here that entire time,” Karl said. “He poses no threat. He’s 90 pounds!” “I have no idea why they used such excessive force,” Eva added, taking a deep breath. “We feel betrayed. They’re the ones who are suppose to protect him.” RCMP issued a release stating police must take any report of open possession of a firearm seriously. “This is even more of a concern when an incident involving a possible firearm occurs near a school,” the release states. It goes on to say “once examined the toy gun appeared quite realistic tucked into the man’s pants. “It is very difficult to tell the difference between a genuine hand gun and a toy replica.” “I didn’t mean to...” Rodney starts, then stops, his whole body vibrates, he mashes a tissue under his thick glasses. “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble, dad.”

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CCNA - Best News Story, Autumn MacDonald