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Homeless reach for gun during encounter
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Officer John Machado walks two suspected squatters out of a shuttered office complex on Oak Street Tuesday morning after they were found reclining in a darkened office. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Two squatters inside shuttered offices in the 200 block of Oak Street Tuesday morning were playing with fate when one of them reached for a replica of a real semi-automatic hand gun as Manteca Police officers entered the darkened office area where they were reportedly sitting on the floor.

Sgt. Jodie Estarziau and three patrolmen answered a call from a representative of the industrial business at that location just south of downtown saying someone was inside their office. A front window was open and the blinds partially destroyed.

When the officers encountered the man and woman they ordered them to raise their hands. Estarziau said the woman reached across for her purse instead where the gun replica had been stashed. One of the officers spotted the gun and shouted, “Gun!” 

After the pair had apparently complied with their arms in the air, the officers determined that the weapon was not the real thing. It had an ammunition clip in the grip but instead of bullets it contained paint ball rounds. 

The gun had its red mussel scraped off and painted over so it would appear to be the real thing, officers said. The gun was confiscated and the pair was released without charges and ordered off the property, police said.