WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The security guard who shot and killed a Westminster man this weekend may have been justified, police said Monday, because the victim pointed a pellet gun that looked like a real gun at the guard.

“This airsoft gun, in particular, had the orange cap removed. But even then, in the heat of the moment in darkness, it’s hard to tell. They really look like real guns,” Westminster police spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said.

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Family members said David Ludewig, 24, was celebrating news his wife was pregnant with their first child. He was drunk, they said, when the guard confronted him for allegedly urinating on a trash bin outside his apartment at 8300 North Sheridan Boulevard at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

After the confrontation, police said, Ludewig returned to his home to fetch the weapon. Then, according to police, witnesses said the guard retreated after Ludewig pointed the weapon at him. The guard then fired.

Spottke said the guard, whose name hasn’t been released, works for Pentagon Protective Service and is licensed to carry a gun in the city.

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“I don’t think he probably would have chosen to fire his weapon had he not thought there was a direct threat to his life,” she said.

(credit: Westminster Police Department)

An example of an airsoft gun (credit: Westminster Police Department)

Ludewig’s cousin, Johnny Secrest, witnessed the confrontation and said that many residents complained about the guard. But he said his cousin made a mistake.

“Nobody please pull a pellet gun out,” he said. “It is the wrong thing to do.”

Monday’s statement from police is the first indication they believe the guard may not have been at fault. Earlier, Spottke said in a statement: “The Westminster police would like to remind everyone it is difficult to differentiate between an airsoft gun and a real gun. This is an ongoing investigation and the case will be presented to the district attorney’s office later in the week.”

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Ludewig’s family has planned a celebration of his life and benefit for his unborn child at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver on Sept. 25 from 7 p.m. to midnight.