“It could have gone so bad so fast. He could have shot himself, shot somebody else,” said longtime Rockford resident Carolyn Johnson, recounting the moment her six year old grandson found a loaded gun near her back garage.
“It’s so scary and I keep going over in my mind, over and over of what could have happened,” she said. Johnson says her grandson found it outside while playing basketball.
“He went over to get his ball and he saw the gun laying on the ground.” The incident happened at her home on Eastmoreland Avenue back in April, but Johnson recently posted photos of the weapon to ‘Nextdoor’, an online neighborhood social network, to keep other Rolling Green residents informed.
“It could happen to anybody, you could go out into your backyard and boom there’s a gun,” she added.
“It is usually dropped by someone who is either running from a law enforcement representative, or they committed some type of criminal act,” said Rockford Police Deputy Chief John Pozzi.
Pozzi says they aren’t sure how the gun ended up near Johnson’s home. He suggests for those who find a weapon and aren’t sure if it’s real, call police. “Call from a cell phone, maintain a watchful eye on the weapon that way nobody else is placed in harms way while we are waiting for the police response,” he said.
Johnson called police shortly after finding it. Pozzi says similar calls could be the key to solving investigations. “This truly could be the missing piece of the puzzle which can solve or break open a major investigation,” he said. For Johnson, finding the gun served as a reminder to keep a watchful eye on where kids play.
“Make sure that you kind of do a little walk throughout your yard yourself before your children go out and play. I know from now on that’s what I will be doing,” she said. Officers advise that if you find a gun or shell casings, do not to touch them and reach out to the police non-emergency line.