NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYU student was arrested Monday for allegedly building realistic looking air rifles in his dorm room.
As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported, Bernard Goal, 20, was picked after crews noticed what looked like rifles on his bed at the 80 Lafayette St. dorm. They then alerted campus security.
Public safety officers found a total of six airsoft weapons in Goal’s dorm room minutes later. The weapons resembled AK-47s and Colt carbine rifles, according to published reports.
“It turned out to be air rifles configured to look like assault rifles. There’s a local ordinance in New York City that makes it unlawful to possess an air rifle or an imitation weapon. So the student was arrested,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WCBS 880.
On Facebook, Goal appears dressed for combat in a photo, holding a similar airsoft pellet rifle. Classmates said they were shocked by the discovery.
“It’s a little scary. I didn’t even know the person was living in our building,” said NYU senior Nicole Bufis. “I figured it was somewhere else.”
“I mean, I’m familiar with Airsoft guns being pretty realistic to real ones or whatever; stupid to bring to a dorm, though,” said NYU junior Sourabh Dhillon.
But others said there was nothing to worry about.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, really,” said NYU senior Andrew Kreitzman. “It’s just an airsoft gun. I mean, obviously, other people might not know what it is, so that’s the issue, but I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal.”
NYU released a statement about the incident Tuesday evening. The university said even though the gun was an airsoft rifle and “did not pose the kind of lethal danger associated with firearms… it is the case that these type of pellet guns can cause significant injury.”
“(I)n this day and age, especially given recent events at Virginia Tech and Newtown, Conn., the University will respond swiftly to protect the safety of our community when there is even a possibility of gun involvement,” NYU said in the statement. “We are reminding our community that, under the University Policy on Student Conduct and the University policy on weapons, neither real firearms nor replica guns are permitted at the University. Unauthorized possession of such items subject members of the University to disciplinary action.”
Goal was arrested in the afternoon on a series of misdemeanor charges, and made his initial court appearance later Monday.
Air rifles fire pellets through compressed air and have a range of up to 300 feet, according to published reports. Though they are designed to look like actual firearms, the air rifles only cause flesh wounds at close range.
“It’s always a cause for concern to the public, particularly if something’s configured to like an actual assault rifle. We appreciate the fact that the NYU personnel were alert enough to report it,” Browne told WCBS 880.
The student was allegedly making his dorm-made weapons and selling them for $500 each.
Goal was expected to be arraigned late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The outcome of the hearing was not immediately available.
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