This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo police said Wednesday afternoon that two guns discovered near an elementary school were mistakenly left on the roof of a car and fell off as the motorist drove through town.

Police Sgt. Mathew Siufanua said the owner had been targeting shooting the day before with both guns. When he returned, he was cleaning out his car, placed the firearms on the roof of the vehicle and forgot about them. As he drove down the street, they fell into the roadway near Sunset View Elementary School.

Siufanua said one of the guns — a 9mm handgun — was discovered lying in the middle of the road at 1100 West and 600 South by three children walking to the elementary school on Wednesday morning.

He said an 8-year-old boy picked up the weapon and placed it in his backpack to take to school. When the boy encountered a nearby crossing guard, the boy showed the guard the gun. Siufanua said that, luckily, the gun wasn't loaded when the child picked it up.

The second gun — a .25-caliber automatic handgun — was discovered a short time later lying in a crosswalk at 1600 West and 600 South by a woman driving by, Siufanua said. The woman didn't touch the gun, but called police. That gun was also unloaded, Siufanua said.

Siufanua said police swept the elementary school — which was locked down briefly — and the path the students took, but didn't find any other guns.

Unaware that his lost guns had caused concern, the man called police to see if anyone had reported finding them, Siufanua said.

Siufanua said the firearms would be returned to the owner, who wasn't expected to face any charges.

Police recommend that anyone who finds an abandoned weapon call the police. He said people should not pick up the guns. If a child finds a gun, police recommend they tell an adult.

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