A beautiful spring morning in Ditmars Park in Astoria turned ugly last Tuesday when 54-year-old Zbigniew Pawlowski reportedly armed his two children with two illegally owned BB guns and set them loose in a busy playground.
He first fired a couple of shots at a nearby tree, then handed the weapons to his 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, according to an account from the Queens district attorney's office.
The city's Administrative Code requires permits for air rifles or pistols like BB guns. There were no injuries as a result of this incident, but Pawlowski was arraigned on several charges, including resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child, the New York Times reported.
The story was first written about on the Queens Mamas blog, and Queens Councilman Peter Vallone linked to the story on his Facebook page, asking constituents to speak up if they recognized the man in a blurry cell phone photo.
"It's unfortunate this incident escalated," Vallone said of Pawlowski's arrest and the ensuing court case. "The gun was extremely realistic which makes it illegal, but instead of turning himself in and getting a wrist slap, he resisted arrest."
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The Queens Mamas story, which has since been removed, complained of a delay in response by the police, and an absence of police near the park generally.
"Everyone wants more cops in the neighborhood, it's my top priority," Vallone said, and advised voters "to look at candidates' positions on more cops in the upcoming elections.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat