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Fargo police say man with toy gun won't be charged for Wednesday morning incident

FARGO - Police say they will not seek charges against a man who was spotted waiving what turned out to be a toy gun Wednesday morning during an incident that shut down a city block while officers searched for the man.

FARGO - Police say they will not seek charges against a man who was spotted waiving what turned out to be a toy gun Wednesday morning during an incident that shut down a city block while officers searched for the man.

A citizen called police at 9:47 a.m. after spotting a man in an alley near a dumpster in the 1100 block of North University Drive with what looked like a black pistol, Lt. Pat Claus said.

Officers later located the man, who told them he found a small orange squirt gun in a dumpster and was playing with it, Claus said. The gun was about 3 inches in length.

Officers told the man, who is in his mid- to late-30s and has special needs, that "even toy guns can cause alarm depending on what people observe and see," Claus said.

Initially 11 police units responded to the area in search of the man and diverted traffic from the location for some time, Claus said. The last unit left the scene about 11:25 a.m., Claus said, adding some other units were on scene for an average of a half hour to over an hour.

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Claus said it is not uncommon for police to respond to reports of people with guns in Fargo, adding the suspicious item often is a toy gun or some other object.

"But we'd rather respond and find out it's nothing than not respond and end up with someone being harmed," he said.

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