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Teens arrested for allegedly firing paintball guns inside Burnaby mall food court

One of several teens allegedly caught firing paintball guns inside the Metrotown mall food court last Friday was also carrying an airsoft pistol "closely resembling a handgun," according to police.

Several teens were arrested and then banned from Burnaby’s Metrotown mall after allegedly shooting paintball guns inside the food court last week.

Burnaby Mounties were on patrol inside the mall on the evening of April 21, when they witnessed “a group of teens with various paintball style guns shooting gel rounds in the food court area near other mall patrons,” according to a Burnaby RCMP news release.

In the process of taking the teens into custody, the officers seized a replica handgun from one of them.

“This reckless behaviour created a dangerous situation for everyone in the area,” Burnaby RCMP Cpl. Mike Kalanj said in the release. “Not only were these youth putting members of the public at risk by shooting gel paintball rounds in an indoor public space, there was also an airsoft gun that closely resembled a real handgun.”

Police officers responding to calls must treat realistic-looking firearms as authentic until proven otherwise, according to the release, so imitation firearms, including airsoft guns, bb guns and pellet guns, can pose a risk to the safety of the person carrying them, bystanders and responding police officers.

The teens were released with warnings after officers spoke with their parents, police said.

They’ve also been banned from the mall by security.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor