Panic breaks out at St. Augustine Beach when child appears to have gun

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – A child is in custody Friday after flashing what appeared to be a gun, causing panic at the St. Augustine Beach Pier.

A woman who was at the beach described the event as terrorizing and chaotic.

Anita Pinckney said she came to the beach with her service dog to have a peaceful day, but as she was packing up to leave, she saw dozens of people running toward her.

“It was just horrible I saw like two little kids fall down so I know they got scraped knees. I know they were crying and I know I heard people saying things like he’s got a gun and I heard a lady screaming, we’re going to get killed,” Pinckney said.

She said the entire ordeal caused her so much fear. She said she heard teens talking about a BB gun fight before she noticed the crowd charging at her.

According to the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, panic broke out after a child wearing a face mask showed what others believed was a gun that turned out to be an Airsoft gun.

Pinckney said she doesn’t understand why someone would do this, especially at a place with families.

“For somebody to come up there to terrorize them on some type of agenda and it was planned, that’s what’s scary. That’s what’s scary,” she said.

Another family told News4JAX that she hid behind a picnic table with her 2 and 5-year-old. She said even though they found out the gun was fake, it was still a terrifying experience.

The St. Augustine Beach Police are asking anyone with information or video of the incident to contact them.

About the Author:

Khalil Maycock joined the News4JAX team in November 2022 after reporting in Des Moines, IA.