Police say he wouldn’t drop it — and it looked real.

In a case of mistaken identity — a pellet gun that looked like an assault rifle — a 20-year-old was shot and killed by Maryland police Friday night.

The police were responding to reports of a dispute between two men, and when they reached the Suitland, Maryland apartment complex, they saw what appeared to be a man holding an assault rifle.

According to police, the man was ordered several times to drop the weapon; when he didn’t officers opened fire.

As the dust settled, officers found a pellet rifle and a pellet pistol on the scene, but no real weapons.

While the case has drawn a negative reaction online, police claim the man was uncooperative and, in the judgment of officers on-scene, could have posed a threat.

“You’re talking about a very realistic weapon,” a police spokesperson told Reuters.

Featured image via Shutterstock

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