Bowen man causes city centre gun scare
A BOWEN man who was seen on a city hotel balcony shooting at pedestrians on the ground with a gel blaster has been severely reprimanded by a magistrate.
Ryan John Kruse, 23, pleaded guilty in Bowen Magistrates Court this week to a charge of dangerous conduct with a weapon.
Prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court police were called to the Hilton Hotel in Cairns at 11pm on April 20 to reports of a man standing on a balcony and shooting at people on the street.
The court heard a 53-year-old man who was also staying at the hotel told police he heard a noise that sounded like rapid gun fire with a silencer.
He looked up and saw Kruse on another balcony with what he believed was a gun and thought he was shooting at pedestrians, Sgt Myors said.
When police came to the hotel, they found the gel blaster laying on an ironing board in Kruse's hotel room.
The court heard it looked like a Bushmaster 5.6 rifle.
"Unless you examined it close up, it appeared to be a firearm,” Sgt Myors said.
The court was told the witness was "panicked” about what he had seen as it came only a month after the well-publicised mosque shooting in New Zealand.
Kruse's solicitor Peta Vernon said her client was away in Cairns for the weekend with his partner and had bought the gel blaster for $260 at a shop while there.
"He instructs me he was shooting it into the trees,” she said.
Ms Vernon admitted the gel blaster did sound like a gun with a silencer but said it was not powerful enough and the gel ball would disintegrate before hitting the ground.
While she said it was "extremely foolish conduct” by Kruse, Ms Vernon told the court "there was no intent to scare anyone”.
"There was no intent to cause harm.”
Magistrate James Morton, however, blasted Kruse, saying as soon as he went outside with what looked like a real gun, people would be fearful.
"This is very serious. Putting aside any other public issue... what I'm dealing with is a man standing on a balcony firing what people think is a real weapon.
"People are to be taking this as real. No-one is going to think whether it is a real gun or not.
"The fact people are going out in the community with a weapon, you instil fear in the community.”
When asked why he bought the gel blaster, Kruse said "heaps” of his mates had them and took them out to the farm to shoot.
Kruse was fined $1000, but no conviction was recorded by the court.