TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A growing trend of guns being spray painted to look like fake ones is growing, according to U.S. Marshals.
A gun spray painted white was seized back in August, when Jaquarious Cherry was taken into custody.
Law enforcement agencies surrounded the home where the 17-year-old was in Tupelo, then taking him in.
"It looks real and they painted it,” said Buck Fisher, after he was shown the photos. "They shouldn’t be doing that. It‘s been a big problem in our area.”
Cherry was arrested during Operation Triple Beam and during it, Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre says suspects taken into custody claimed gang affiliations.
"This particular gun was spray painted white," said Mike Quarles, the Gulf Coast Regional Task Force Commander. "It's hard to detect as well, if it's white, it blends in a little better."
On a Facebook post dedicated to a teenager arrested with Cherry last year, pictured is a gun painted red. In other posts, he's tagged with the hashtag "LL9."
Federal law enforcement confirm "LL9" is a street gang.
"You see gang signs and graffiti here on some walls,” said Willie Topp, who lives in Tupelo. "So you need to be aware of your surroundings."
A source tells WTVA, that guns are painted for territory, in case there's a crime committed and a gun is lying around.
However, it poses a problem for law enforecement. When an officer is deciding on if you're a threat, a painted gun only adds confusion.
"He has a split second to make a decision," stressed Fisher. "It could be his life or somebody else's.”
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