Students face charges after fake gun pointed at couple in Victoria

In a case Victoria police spokesman Const. Mike Russell called “people doing stupid things,” two students from Saudi Arabia have been charged with pointing a firearm at a couple strolling down Store Street last week.

Meshal Alharbi and Mohammad Alhussain, both 23, turned themselves over police on the evening of Nov. 20. They were arrested and charged with carrying a replica firearm for a dangerous purpose, pointing a firearm, assault with a firearm, using a replica firearm to threaten and assault, and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.

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Alharbi is also charged with carrying a concealed restricted weapon and having his face masked with intent to commit an offence.

Victoria provincial court Judge Ernie Quantz released both men on $10,000 bail and ordered them to surrender their passports to the court registry, where they will be kept until a further court order.

After his decision, Quantz told Alhussain that Canada is a very welcoming country to newcomers and students.

“No matter what you might hear out there, our expectation is that you follow the law and that you make a positive contribution to the country,” Quantz said.

The judge suggested the students comply with all the conditions of their bail orders and make a contribution to the community by volunteering as their case makes its way through the court system. “If you do this, it will help you a lot,” said Quantz.

An Arabic translator was in the courtroom for the bail hearing.

On Nov. 20 about 9:30 p.m., a man and his girlfriend were walking in the 2000-block of Store Street when a black car pulled up beside them, Russell said.

A man in the front passenger seat, who had his face concealed, rolled down the window and pointed a black Airsoft pistol directly at the couple, he said.

The terrified couple ran to safety. Two suspects fled the scene.

The suspects later dropped their car off in the 800-block of View Street and walked to the police station to explain their actions, Russell said. An officer standing outside the police station recognized them and they were arrested.

Police found the replica firearm in the inside jacket pocket of one of the suspects.

Quantz ordered Alharbi and Alhussain to remain in B.C., to obey a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, not to possess any weapons and to attend school regularly.

Quantz also ordered them not to have contact, directly or indirectly, with each other.

However, Alharbi is allowed to go in the company of a police officer to pick up his belongings from Alhussain’s residence.

Their next court appearance has been scheduled for Dec. 10.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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