Youngster seen with handgun at library |

Youngster seen with handgun at library

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A youngster had what appeared to be a real handgun in front of a mother and her son at the Park City Library and Education Center in early April, the Park City Police Department said, a case that has investigators wanting to talk to the youth seen by the two.

The Police Department received the information at 8:25 p.m. on April 1, April Fools Day, through a call to dispatchers. According to public police logs, two boys appearing to be 12 years old confronted the mother and son near the library’s computers. One of them had a gun, the police said. Dispatchers were told the two youths were with a group of approximately eight others. All of them are Latino, the police said.

Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said investigators are unsure whether the gun was real. He said the police have some information about the suspects, but he did not provide details. He said the gun was in the waistband of one of the boys. The boy did not brandish the weapon, according to Kirk.

"It’s definitely concerning to us and the library staff. It’s too early for us to draw conclusions, whether this was a real gun or not," Kirk said.

He said the boys are probably between 12 and 14 years old. Kirk said library staffers saw the group inside, but they did not see the weapon.

Meanwhile, the police received a report of a boy with a gun on the 1800 block of Prospector Avenue at 5:36 p.m. on March 31. He was with two other boys, the police were told. In another case, at 11:36 p.m. on April 3, dispatchers received a report of a man with a pistol on the 1700 block of Park Avenue. The man was reported to be with a group, but the police said the report was unfounded.

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Kirk said investigators have little information about the March 31 incident. He said the three boys, reported to be Latinos, were gone by the time officers arrived. Kirk said it is possible the three were involved in the case at the library the next day.

"We don’t have a lot of information to go on in either case. Trying to link the two is even more difficult," he said, adding that there are "some similarities" between the April 1 and March 31 reports.

Gun violence is rare in Park City, and there is little crime at the library more serious than an occasional theft. Still, Kirk said, the police treat cases involving real or fake guns "very seriously."

The Police Department arrested 10 people on weapons charges in 2007, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Six of them were adults and the rest were juveniles, according to the department’s annual crime report. All were men. The report does not identify whether the weapons in the cases were guns, however.

People with information about the cases reported recently may call the Police Department at 615-5500. The department’s anonymous tip line is 615-5847.