Alameda County sheriff's deputies subdued a gun-toting suspect near Laney College in Oakland on Tuesday, and it turned out the firearm was a replica, according to the sheriff's office.
At about 10:40 a.m., Lt. Gerald Verbeck and Deputy Sonny Fahimi responded to reports of a suspect on the Laney College campus with a gun. While searching the campus and surrounding areas, Verbeck noticed a known transient standing on the sidewalk at Seventh Street near the Laney College parking lot, and he could see the suspect pointing a gun at passing vehicles, the sheriff's office said.
After Verbeck and Fahimi approached the suspect and tried to de-escalate the situation, the suspect was uncooperative and turned away, walking toward the campus, officials said.
Fearing an immediate threat to the campus, Verbeck sprinted toward the suspect and tackled him. After a brief struggle, the officers were able to handcuff the suspect and determine the gun was a replica, officials said.
"This very likely could have turned into a lethal force situation," sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said. "Sometimes in law enforcement, you have to make brave and courageous decisions like Lt. Verbeck. It happens in a split second."
The suspect was taken for medical evaluation and later arrested for brandishing a weapon and related charges, Kelly said.