Don't lose your gun on the roller coaster / stupid comment
Off-Duty Officer's Gun Found By 16-Year-Old Girl
Sources: Teen Fired Round Into Sand Dune
POSTED: 3:24 pm EDT June 21, 2007
UPDATED: 8:27 pm EDT June 21, 2007
OCEAN CITY, N.J. -- Police were breathing a huge sigh of relief that a small gun lost Wednesday by an off-duty Philadelphia police officer at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City was found, and no one got hurt.
Video: Teen Finds Officer's Gun At Ride Pier
"Flat out, we are lucky right now. It could have gone off. Yes, it could have gone off," said Detective Sgt Dennis. Jones of the Ocean City Police Department.
The gun belonged to a 15th District Philadelphia police officer. What had investigators so concerned was the size of the gun, NBC 10's Dawn Timmeney reported.
It looks like a toy and, in fact, the 16-year-old who found it on the "Sling Shot" ride said she thought it was a cap gun.
"I thought it was a toy gun, so I just didn't think anything of it," the unidentified girl told NBC 10 as she left the Ocean City police station Thursday.
She put the loaded weapon in her pocket, believing it was a toy then walked around with it, including going on at least one ride, and took it home.
Timmeney reported that the girl's mother was jogging on the boardwalk and heard news reports about the missing weapon. She mentioned it to her children, who had been on the boardwalk Wednesday night, and the daughter said she had the gun, so they went to police.
Sources told NBC 10 that the teen, after the rides and still believing it was a toy, took the gun to the beach and fired a round into a sand dune.
The gun, a North American Arms .22-caliber Magnum with a wood handle and silver barrel fits in the palm of your hand, according to police, who released a photograph of the model, as well as another with coins next to it for a size comparison.
"A little kid would have probably looked at it or started playing with it while they were on the ride, and the next thing you know it could have been another unfortunate accident that we're all standing here talking about," Jones said.
Timmeney reported that the officer who lost the weapon is a veteran Pennsylvania officer who was staying at a campground in Egg Harbor Township and was at the pier with his son.
The search for the weapon Wednesday night resulted in a closure of the amusement pier near Sixth Street for about two hours.
"It's a little scary. Yeah, especially with the kids around and somebody picking it up like that, because you don't know what's going to happen with it," said Stephen Davis of Doylestown, Pa.
The owner of Wonderland Pier, Jay Gillian, said he was glad the gun was found, but he was not happy that is was lost in a park full of kids. He said they would look into pier policies to see if there was any way to avoid something like this from happening again.
"It sort of scares me that off-duty police officers can carry guns," Gillian said. "I don't know what policies are, but we'll see what happens."