A potentially dangerous interaction with a man who pointed what appeared to be a chrome-plated handgun at a couple in a drugstore parking lot ended with the man arrested and the lookalike weapon identified as a laser lighter, Madison police said.
No one was injured in the incident, police said.
Madison police drew their weapons and “verbally challenged” Quincy R. Thompson, 19, of Madison, in the middle of the intersection of Cottage Grove Road and Acewood Boulevard just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to police spokesman Howard Payne.
The lookalike weapon was found nearby, police said.
Thompson faces several charges, including underage drinking.
Payne said a 22-year-old woman had walked out of a Walgreens, and as she neared the car in which her boyfriend was waiting, a man was “hovering” and pointing what appeared to be a gun at her 25-year-old boyfriend.
According to police:
When the gun holder realized the woman was nearing the car, he aimed the laser lighter at her. This prompted the boyfriend to go for his own loaded weapon.
Thompson then reportedly said: “Go ahead and shoot me, I’m not afraid of you, I’m from the south side of Chicago and I’m not afraid of white people.”
But the couple had called police, and the suspect fled. He was stopped at the intersection near 4500 Cottage Grove Road, Payne said. It was there the first officers “drew their weapons.”
In custody, Thompson was placed in a squad car, where he reportedly punched the windows and kicked the door from its frame.
Police said Thompson spit in the face of an officer, talked about blowing up the city and claimed he “kills cops.”
Police questioned the couple, who were visiting Madison from Cookeville, Tennessee. Police confirmed the man’s gun possession was legal, Payne said. The suspect had approached the man in the car, possibly panhandling, and had been waved away, Payne said.
Payne described the lookalike weapon that was confiscated as a lighter with an attached laser.
“This item looked like a functional four-and-one-half inch chrome-plated firearm and prompted a reasonable response from the male victim,” Payne said.
Thompson was held on potential charges of using a facsimile firearm, resisting a police officer, two counts of disorderly conduct, possession of a laser pointer and underage consumption.
Payne said the incident could have had a much different consequence under those conditions.
“Faced with a like item, an officer can’t guess what someone is holding. An officer has to respond based on training and experience.”
Thompson remained in Dane County Jail on Friday.