The man was wearing all black, and his paintball gun closely mirrored an assault rifle, said Staff Sgt. Mark Cox of Hamilton Police.
Police received calls from alarmed shoppers — "a number of people called simultaneously" — who watched the man stroll around the mall. About a dozen officers rushed to the scene at 11:21 a.m. and set up a perimeter around the mall. A four-person team confronted the man at gunpoint at Foot Locker.
The Hamilton man was early to meet a friend for a paintball game and "thought he’d do a little shoe-shopping," Cox said.
"He hadn’t really thought things through."
Police didn’t charge him, Cox said. He understood his error, and the incident was over in nine minutes.
"It was over almost as quickly as it started, no one was injured and he’s been educated on better ways to transport his paintball gun."
The gun looked like an assault rifle, from its safety switch to its extended stock, Cox said.
"We can’t take chances that these guns aren’t real until we’ve had a chance to examine them."
Police drove the man and his paintball gun home to avoid any more incidents.