Joel Porter, a reporter with local NBC affiliate WNDU 16 found a police issued handgun laying in the roud at a busy intersection near University Park Mall in Mishawaka, Indiana.
The Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm was loaded with a round in the chamber and marked “SBPD” on the slide. South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski confirmed that the weapon was issued by his department.
“We turned the corner headed to the mall and saw what looked like a pistol in the middle of the road,” said Tracy Hertel, another motorist who also spotted the weapon. “I was hoping it was a toy gun, but it was a real one,” he said. “All I could think was some little kid could pick that up and we’d have a tragedy to talk about.”
Porter turned the weapon over to the South Bend Police Department and was thanked via email by Chief Ruszkowski. “Thank you for turning the firearm over, it is/was the correct and proper thing to do,” Ruszkowski wrote.
The SPBD has not yet released the name of the officer to whom the weapon was issued, nor have they provided any evidence of a weapon being lost or stolen. Chief Ruszkowski refused to make any comments on camera until an internal investigation had been completed. If the weapon was reported lost or stolen there would be a record and case number for investigators to reference.
“It’d be nice if they were frank and forthcoming, and that’s up to them, too,” Hertel said. “You and I are held accountable where we work, aren’t we?”
The officer who collected the weapon told Porter it would be entered as evidence. The weapons serial number will be used to identify the officer to whom it was issued. Investigators will fire the weapon in a ballistics test and cross check their results against recent crime scene evidence.
Watch the video below to learn more information, but be prepared to cringe when Porter refers to the magazine as a “clip.”
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