Prince George’s County police are now searching for the gun, and Deputy Chief Hank Stawinski told the Washington Post that finding the misplaced gun is the department’s “priority number one.”
“This is an important piece of equipment,” Stawinski said. “It is something we’re very concerned about losing, and we’re very concerned about getting it back into our hands as quickly as possible.”
At around 6 PM on Thursday evening, the absent-minded officer was unloading his trunk to make room for the tire, and placed his AR-15 rifle “somewhere near the cruiser.” When he placed the items back into the vehicle, he replaced everything but the weapon.
The officer reportedly did not notice that it was missing until around 11 that evening.
“It does appear to be a deeply unfortunate mistake,” Stawinski told the Post. “At this point, every possible avenue for recovering this rifle is being investigated.”
This particular style of weapon is capable of firing several rounds per second. The department believes that it may have been picked up by a passerby after the officer left.
It is the policy of the department that officers assigned one of their roughly 300 semi-automatic rifles be in physical control of the weapon at all times.
The department is reviewing the situation to determine what type of discipline the careless officer may face.
So far, their search for the gun has been unproductive.
When incidents like this one occur, many take to social media to mock the officers. But this gun could be in the hands of just about anyone right now, including a child.
Stawinski claims that he cannot recall another time when a gun went missing from his department.