Springfield police arrest man with realistic airsoft rifle, drugs

1 min read

SPRINGFIELD — A tense situation involving a man with what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle ended in an arrest Monday night after Springfield police seized an airsoft gun and drugs from a local apartment.

Officers responded to a call at around 8:55 p.m. on the 0-100 block of Belmont Avenue, where a report indicated a man was seen carrying an AK-47 rifle while donning a bulletproof vest.

Upon arriving at the scene, police were informed by a victim that the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Edward Blatch Jr., had pointed a firearm at her during an altercation inside an apartment.

A short while later, as Blatch returned to the premises, officers used the fire escape to observe the interior of the apartment and spotted what seemed to be an AR-15 rifle on the kitchen table.

Entering the apartment, officers apprehended Blatch and discovered the weapon was in fact a realistic-looking airsoft rifle.

Additionally, suspected valium was found on Blatch, who also assaulted an officer during the booking process.

Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood highlighted the dangers of using realistic imitation firearms during criminal activities, noting the challenges officers face in distinguishing them from real guns in urgent situations.

She emphasized the increasing use of air and replica guns in crimes and the legal loophole that allows adults to possess these imitation firearms when used in a crime, unlike restrictions placed on minors.

Edward Blatch Jr. is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a Class E drug, and assault & battery on a police officer.

The incident underscores the concerning trend of replica firearms being involved in criminal incidents and the potential risks they pose to public safety.

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