City News Service

On the Heels of Mass Shootings, Riverside Scare Prompts Major Law Enforcement Response

Reports of a man with a gun atop a building in downtown Riverside prompted a major law enforcement response, but the call was a false alarm stemming from a miscommunication, police said.

"It got misconstrued,'' Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback told City News Service. "It started out as an irate guy who had services denied to him, and then it became a distraught veteran on the roof with a gun.''

According to Railsback, 911 dispatchers received the initial report about 9:30 a.m., referencing a public disturbance at the Riverside County Veterans Services Office in the 4300 block of Orange Street, near 14th Street.

Railsback said the man creating the disturbance, whose name was not released, is known to police from prior encounters. It is believed he went into the county office asking to receive benefits of some kind, but was told he didn't qualify, eliciting an angry reaction from the suspect.

"There may have been mention of a gun,'' Railsback said. "And then it became a call about a guy with a gun on the roof."

On the heels of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, law enforcement officers took no chances and swarmed the location, with a sheriff's helicopter crew taking a position over the building, searching for a possible active shooter.

Railsback said the situation was resolved less than a half-hour later, after officers spoke with witnesses.

"We are aware of this individual, and the mental health specialist who is assigned to us will be trying to contact him,'' Railsback told CNS.

No arrests were made.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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