N.J. teen takes officer's gun for a toy, fires

The Associated Press

OCEAN CITY, N.J. — Hours after an off-duty Philadelphia police officer reported losing a small gun he had in his pocket, a 17-year-old girl found it on an amusement-park ride and fired it into a beach dune, thinking it was a toy.

No one was injured Wednesday. The girl, who was not identified, and her family contacted police the next day, once they realized the gun was real.

The girl found the .22-caliber revolver while visiting Gillian's Wonderland Pier. She inadvertently sat on the gun while climbing into the Slingshot ride.

Thinking the gun was a toy, she put it in her pocket and later fired it into a sand dune, Police Sgt. Dennis Jones said. Even then, she still thought it was a toy, brought it home, and forgot about it until her mother mentioned news accounts of a search for the weapon Thursday.

Amusement park owner Jay Gillian closed the park for two hours Wednesday so police could search for the missing gun. Police said the gun resembled a toy, making its discovery by a child potentially disastrous.

"It's so small and tiny," Jones said. "It's no bigger than a cap gun."

The gun was to be returned to the off-duty officer.

"We're ecstatic to get it back and that nobody was hurt," Jones said.

Chief Inspector William Colarulo, the head of Philadelphia police internal affairs, would not disclose the off-duty officer's name, but said the officer would not face any sanctions.

"It was an accident. He went through the proper channels and notified authorities he lost his gun," Colarulo said.

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