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Junior lifeguards report seeing gun at the Cove

San Diego police responded to a report at 8:25 this morning of four individuals sleeping in a vehicle at La Jolla Cove, one of whom was holding what appeared to be a rifle across his lap.

Six police cars, including a canine unit, arrived at the 1100 block of Coast Blvd., at 8:39 a.m. Police immediately took four teens into custody while investigating the incident.

The four juveniles, ranging in age from 16 to 17, quickly complied with police commands, said Sgt. Paul Phillips of the San Diego Police Department. The weapon, which police seized, was identified as a BB gun.

The gun was originally sighted by a youth arriving for the Junior Lifeguard session being conducted at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, who told his instructor what he had seen, said Lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum.

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“It was then reported from the lifeguards to the P.D.,” Lerum added.

The lifeguards immediately relocated more than 250 junior lifeguard participants to the far end of the park as a precaution.

“Only a handful of kids knew about the weapon because they had seen it,” Lerum said.

All four teens are from Arizona. The vehicle they occupied, strewn with carryout food containers and boxes of donuts, was a brown, 1999 Chevy Malibu with Arizona plates.

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Police remained at the site until the four teens had been identified and a background checks made for outstanding warrants.

“One is a reported runaway juvenile,” Phillips stated, adding that the youth would likely be taken to Polinsky Children’s Center until his guardian, an aunt, made arrangements for his release.

Three of the individuals were released after police confirmed they had parental consent to be in La Jolla. Police did not return the BB gun to the teens.

The three young men did not comment on the situation except to say they had the weapon “because we were scared.”