Owner 'Inadvertently' Left AR-15 on Street: Police

The weapon was discovered on Vincent Street by someone driving by.

The AR-15 discovered in Redondo Beach. Contributed photo.
The AR-15 discovered in Redondo Beach. Contributed photo.

The government-issued assault rifle found Thursday in South Redondo Beach was accidentally left on the street by its owner, according to a spokesman from the Redondo Beach Police Department.

The owner, a member of a law-enforcement organization under the Homeland Security umbrella, was not otherwise identified. Prior to interviewing the owner of the weapon, officers thought that the case holding the AR-15 was left in public as the result of a burglary.

"(It) looks like (the case) was inadvertently left by the side of (the owner's) car, and he drove away," said police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Freeman.

The rectangular case containing AR-15 was found Thursday in front of St. James Church on Vincent Street between Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway. 

The person who found the rifle exchanged emails with Patch; however, she did not want her name released due to the aggressive response to previous stories on the subjects.

The case was "sitting parallel with one of the white parking space lines," she told Patch. "There was an empty space on one side and a red SUV in the other. There was no one in the SUV and the position of the case made it look like it was left by whatever vehicle left the empty space.

"That's why I had my … son run out and grab it because it looked like a (musical) instrument accidentally left behind by its owner."

Upon opening the case to see who it belonged to, the woman and her son saw the rifle and heard a ticking noise, so they brought it home and flagged down a passing police car.

"The officers on scene taped off most of (the 200 block of Carnelian) to Broadway and across the street, including the bank, until the weapon and ticking device were identified by the bomb squad and disassembled," she said.

The ticking sound was coming from a mechanism removed from a recordable greeting card, officers told her.

The AR-15's owner apparently did not give an explanation for the ticking device when police interviewed him, Freeman said.

He added that it was fortunate the gun was found when it was, and that the finder contacted authorities.

"Luckily, no one was hurt," Freeman said. 

The AR-15 has been returned to its owner, ending Redondo Beach police involvement in the incident. Freeman did not know if there would be any consequences for the gun's owner.


vicki bliss January 29, 2014 at 01:49 PM
You can't fix stupid...and this is a member of Homeland Security? He should lose his job.
Melanie L Cohen January 29, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Although an error,this person should be fined and lose his right to carry such weapons. After all,the general public is strictly held to gun laws and regulations...
DGaf 90277 January 29, 2014 at 03:29 PM
Nicole Mooradian, Thank you again for reporting this story. This part is inaccurate: "Upon opening the case to see who it belonged to, the woman and her son saw the rifle and heard a ticking noise, so they brought it home and flagged down a passing police car." --- We opened the case. I heard the ticking noise. A car behind us honked because the light had changed so we quickly closed the case, drove across PCH, and pulled over. I didn't hear the ticking once the case was closed and began to wonder if maybe it was the latch on the case making the noise that I thought was ticking, that it was a fake noise, or that it disengaged by closing the case. I put the weapon in the back seat and took my son to school. I was in shock, but I didn't want to freak out because my son is Epileptic and is sensitive to stress. He also had three finals scheduled that day that I didn't want him to miss. After I dropped him off, I didn't know what to do. My husband knows much more about guns than I do so I took it home to him. I told him what happened. He put the weapon in the back yard, quickly took a photo, and we went outside to flag down police. We live very close to the police department. It was also street sweeping day so there were many RB vehicles out. My husband showed the driver of the RBPD truck that he flagged down the photo and told her some of the details. She called it in over her radio. Police arrived, looked at the closed case in our backyard, and called the bomb squad. While they waited for the bomb squad to arrive they evacuated some of the neighbors. I called RBPD Monday to follow up. Yesterday I received a call back from Captain Hink who told me what he could. Essentially, this was a "careless mistake" made by a "federal officer" and "there was no crime committed" so it is not "a matter of public record". I should "rest assured" that the matter will be handled by the agency involved. I told him that I wanted to know what kind of action was being taken with the individual who made this mistake. He couldn't tell me. I asked him to pass on my name and number to the agency that might be able to tell me and he said he would.
DGaf 90277 January 29, 2014 at 03:30 PM
I am SHOCKED, to say the least, to find out that the weapon was returned to it's owner!!! Clearly he doesn't have the training and/or presence of mind to have possession of it!!!!!!
Jim January 29, 2014 at 07:05 PM
So, was this a good guy with a gun, or a bad guy with a gun?
Leanne Twidwell January 30, 2014 at 02:40 AM
So when he fires it at some innocent person, will that be an accident too? Yikes! This is scary!
jamesbridges January 30, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Dgaf,that weapon is full auto as you stated in other posts. No one but a cop or thief would do what he/she did. The government pays about 1000 dollars for a rifle like that and it it's just a tool to the cop. For anyone else it's a 20,000 dollar rifle that requires a 3-6 month proctoscopy by the feds and a signature from the chief LEO , takes too much effort to get to "forget". Every year police vehicles are broken into for these weapons, people usually wind up finding them on lawns,in ditches and hedges as the thief dumps them. I don't mind the cops having them,but by God they have some balls saying civilians are too irresponsible to own them.
Douglas Gunny Cochran January 30, 2014 at 02:49 PM
DGaf, Speaking as a gun guy and parent, ya done good. You are a good person who wanted to help by guarding a lost or forgotten item. You got involved (Thank you), acted well IRT to your son and as a law abiding citizen, got advice from someone with knowledge on firearms, called the authorities and kept this property safe. Fellow gun dudes, we ask people to get involved in our communities and DGaf did. What she does or does not know about guns is unimportant. That she did the right thing is. Bad guys no have gun because good lady do good.


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