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Lee County residents voiced their displeasure with a potential property tax hike Thursday evening.More >>
Lee County residents voiced their displeasure with a potential property tax hike Thursday evening. More >>
November 28, 2005
Americus- Bill Dorminey's wife and son picked up more than pack of family photos at the Americus Eckerd store.
"My wife came walking out. She had a very concerned look on her face, so I asked her what had happened. She explained to me that our four year old son had picked up a loaded gun from the floor as they were checking out," he says.
This small Derringer hand gun is similar to the one Will Dorminey found on a rug in front of the film processing counter.
"It looks a lot like the little metal cap guns that you used to see quite often in some of the stores. The one that was found in the store was a 22 long rifle which has got a shorter cylinder and a shorter barrel so it's a little smaller in diameter and smaller in length," says Americus Police Chief James Green.
Chief Green says most people use the guns for self defense because they are about the size of your palm and can easily be concealed in a pocket.
"Reaching into their pocket they probably pulled something out and drug the pistol out too," Green says.
Fortunately the little boy immediately gave the gun to his mother. Dorminey says the store manager told his wife someone had come into the store a few hours earlier asking if anyone had found something that didn't belong there, but he says the man was never specific about what he was missing. Bill Dorminey decided to call the police.
"My immediate thought was someone had dumped the weapon after committing a crime or possibly going to commit a crime at Eckerd later that night. All manner of thoughts went through my head," Dorminey says.
Chief Green says gun wasn't used in a crime, but rather lost by an owner who should been more careful.
"The owner is responsible for this. If it gets into the hands of a child and the child hurts himself or someone else, then the liability falls with the gun owner," Green says
"I belong to the NRA. I believe in the right for people to own and carry weapons if they want to. I just believe that if you are going to make that choice that you should be responsible and always aware of where the weapon is. My son is four years old and he's just beginning to get curious about things and it's scary to think what might have happened," Dorminey says.
Dorminey says he has always taught his sons never to play with guns and to tell an adult if they ever found one. Now, he's urging all parents to do the same.
Police tracked down the owner of the gun, 63 year old Leonard Killebrew, and returned the weapon to him. Chief Green says Killebrew was licensed to it and was not in violation of the law when he brought it in the store.