8-year-old girl finds loaded gun on side of road

Gun spotted in grass not reported stolen, Atlantic Beach police say

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – An 8-year-old girl found a loaded gun on the side of the road Tuesday evening in Atlantic Beach, her mother told News4Jax.

Rebecca Rogers said her fiance, Stephen Ossi, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sophia, were walking Sophia's dog, Teddy, along 11th Street and East Coast Drive when the girl told Ossi that she had found a gun in the grass.

"I knew I shouldn't touch it. I didn't touch it," Sophia said.

They called police, who took the .380 ACP semi-automatic weapon as evidence and found that it was loaded. The gun was found in the grass inches from the street, a few blocks from the ocean and not far from an elementary school.

“There are just so many kids concentrated in this area. You don't know how many of them know that they should not pick it up,” Ossi said. “She could have easily picked the gun up and said, 'Hey, look what I found!'”

Rogers said she's warned Sophia about guns before, and she's proud her daughter heeded her.

“I'm a very proud mom. I told her several times to never touch a gun if she finds one in the home or out,” Rogers said. 

Police are trying to find out where the gun came from.

Atlantic Beach Police Cmdr. Tiffany Layson said the gun was not reported stolen. It's being sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for analysis.

Sophia said she was proud of her discovery, because police told her that she might have saved a life. But she said she’s no hero. She’s just happy no one got hurt.

Sophia’s teacher recognized her in class Wednesday and talked about what happened. Sophia said all her classmates stood up and clapped for her.

She said she hopes her story helps teach other kids what to do if they ever find a gun.

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