Guilford teens arrested for theatening Branford shoppers with toy guns

Joseph O'Buck, 19, of Guilford is facing multiple charges after he and another teen pretended to shoot shoppers with fake guns at a Branford store (Photo: Branford police)

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Two teens have been arrested after police say they pretended to shoot people at the Branford Walmart with a fake gun.

Police cuffed Guilford’s 19-year-old Joseph O’Buck and his 17 year old friend.

“My son was almost hyperventilating,” said a father who wanted to stay anonymous for his own safety. He says his 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were terrified when O’Buck approached them in the store with a green and orange colored gun. To them it felt very real.

“I don’t even think he looked at the gun,” said the father. “He just said there’s a guy with a gun, told us to stop, and pulled the trigger, and said ‘headshot.’”

The father says he took off looking for the guy and ran into him in another aisle.

“He pointed it at me and was videotaping me as he was pointing it me,” he said. His wife heard O’Buck in another part of the store.

“My wife called me on the phone and said that he was walking down the same aisle she was,” said the unidentified man. “He was all jittery and he said ‘I’m going to snap. I’m going to snap.’”

They got a manger who contacted police. Captain Geoffrey Morgan says when they arrested the two, they found 30 different videos on their cell phones from the store.

“They were sneaking up behind elderly customers doing it. They were doing it to children,” said Capt. Morgan. He says it’s fortunate the call came in as a fake weapon. “The initial report might have been that it was a toy gun; however, that being absent, our response would have been certainly different.”

Police say their behavior included military type crawling throughout the store, sneaking up behind customers, tapping on the floor, and yelling “bang” when the customer looked. They were also observed climbing on store racks, pretending to “pick people off.”

O’Buck is charged with threatening, breach of peace, and risk of injury to a minor. He was released on a written promise to appear in New Haven Court on March 10.

The second teenager, a 17-year-old juvenile from Guilford, was referred to Juvenile Court for threatening and breach of peace. He was later released to his parents.

“It’s pretty sad that they want to take someone’s security away like that and scare people,” said the father.

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