Man who ‘likes to play with guns’ arrested for waving BB gun at Target

Justin Phillips.

A 22-year-old man was arrested last Thursday following a scary incident at Bel-Air Mall.

Justin Phillips was charged with disorderly conduct after he waved a handgun at Target and pointed it at people driving by.

A male suspect told police officers he liked to play with guns after being arrested for waving a handgun in front of Target and pointing it at passing motorists.

“Immediately when officers arrived on the scene they instructed store employees and patrons to go inside Belk nearby, moving them out of danger. The next priority was to place the suspect in custody without incident,” public information officer Charlette Solis said in a statement.

Officers commanded the man to surrender and he complied.

“With the incredible challenges our officers face every day in making split-second decisions of whether to use deadly force or to not use deadly force, these officers are to be commended,” Mobile Chief of Police James Barber said in a statement. “The incident was  deescalated because the suspect complied and did not resist the command of the officer.”

When questioned, the suspect stated it was a BB gun and that he tossed it in the bushes. He also told police he liked to “play with guns.”

Officers recovered the gun and confirmed it to be a BB gun.

The BB gun design is almost identical to a Ruger or a Colt Commander semi-automatic pistol.

“Officers responded as if the gun was real because of the potential for harm of the innocent bystanders,” Barber stated.

The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Justin Phillips (DOB 7-2-94). Phillips was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

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