Fake movie gun prompts arrest

College film students hadn't told law enforcement they would be filming

By Melissa Pamer
POSTED: 07:31 AM PST Jan 13, 2014    UPDATED: 08:21 AM PST Jan 13, 2014 
Fake movie gun prompts arrest
Los Angeles, CA (KTLA) -

A fake gun that has been altered for use as a movie prop appeared a little too realistic for sheriff's deputies -- and the Malibu, Calif., beachgoers who saw it last week.

After a man was reported "waving a handgun near other people" by Point Dume Nature Preserve in Malibu on Thursday morning, authorities responded in force.

Park rangers, deputies and a sheriff's helicopter began searching for the gunman in nearby cliffs, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Friday afternoon.

"Deputies soon saw a suspect pointing a handgun at the head of a young woman who had her hands raised in the air at Little Dume Beach," the news release stated. "A person nearby was holding a camera and filming them."

The seven people who were detained said they were college students shooting a film for school, but they did not have a permit and had not given notice to law enforcement, according to the Sheriff's Department.

There were "no signs indicating it was a film project and for the public not to be concerned," the news release stated.

And the replica handgun had its telltale orange tip -- designed to reveal it as a fake -- removed, authorities said.

A 20-year-old film student from Valencia was arrested on suspicion of removing the safety tip from an imitation firearm, a misdemeanor.