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NYPD: Individuals photographed in Midland Beach parking lot may be carrying paintball guns

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MIDLAND BEACH, Staten Island —Authorities believe the individuals photographed at Midland Beach parking lot on Staten Island were carrying paintball guns, not semi-automatic assault rifles, following an investigation that sparked a heavy police presence at Fort Wadsworth Thursday afternoon.

"The preliminary opinion of these experts was that the weapons in the pictures strong resemble replicas of firearms used in 'paintball' games," Deputy Commissioner John J. Miller said in a statement.

"Interviews conducted by the NYPD and FBI investigators in New Jersey have revealed that the registered owner of one of the vehicles indicated he was planning to go paintball shooting with friends today," Miller said.

There was a heavy police presence at Fort Wadsworth on  Staten Island, with personnel  told to stay in place. This after a retired police officer photographed four people, two of which appear to be handling rifles and pointing it in the windows of two cars, according to the NYPD. In some of the images, they appear to be smiling.

Police then sent out a bulletin to law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the two vehicles and the individuals in the photographs in order to interview them.

The Coast Guard termed the situation a  "credible threat" that was reported about 1 p.m. Friday, a spokesperson said. The official said appropriate precautions were taken.

Fort Wadsworth, located on the eastern edge of Staten Island, is near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The official said appropriate precautions were taken.

Miller said the investigation continues.