Sebastopol police arrested a woman outside a popular downtown tavern Saturday night after they said she pulled out a BB gun that looked like a real handgun.

Officers rushed over to HopMonk on Petaluma Avenue after receiving a report that a woman was on her way there to shoot people, police said in a statement. The 34-year-old Petaluma woman intended to commit “suicide by cop,” police said.

She appeared evasive when Officer Andrew Bauer attempted to talk to her in the parking lot. As he attempted to arrest her, she resisted and in the struggle pulled out what appeared to be a black handgun, which officers determined was a BB gun after Bauer subdued and disarmed her, police said.

“By making contact, he essentially prevented what was likely going to be a much more dangerous kind of incident,” Sgt. David Ginn said.

The BB gun, he said, “has an exact appearance of a semi-automatic handgun.”

The woman told police she did not choose HopMonk for any particular reason. Nor did she target anyone at the popular gathering spot. She was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of making criminal threats, resisting a peace officer and brandishing a replica firearm, Ginn said.

You can reach Staff Writer Meg McConahey at meg.mcconahey@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5204.