PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Police in Warren County, New Jersey are looking for answers after a toddler found a loaded handgun on a playground in Phillipsburg.
The incident Sunday has residents turning heads, as the neighborhood near Marshall and Bates street is relatively quiet and safe, they say.
"I was very shocked, very confused, too, because this neighborhood is very great and to hear something like that to happen to our community in this little park," said Brett Everett, nearby resident.
Just before 4 p.m. Sunday, a 2-year-old playing with their father found a loaded handgun.
The father immediately notified police and was able to safely get the gun out of harm's way.
"Just to hear somebody like that, the father going through that, I feel for him," Everett said.
Everett lives just two doors down from the park. He has a 6-month-old son and a 4-year-old daughter who play there regularly. Now, he says he's going to take extra steps to educate his kids.
"Things happen like this. We just have to be able to teach our kids the right things and hopefully these incidents don't happen again," he said.
Officers say they plan to look at security cameras of nearby homes facing the park to see if the video can give them any clues.
In the meantime, police want the public to know:
"If they find a gun, call the police right away. We can handle it appropriately and also we need to make sure these guns are locked up. Hopefully, it doesn't get out there, it doesn't get removed from a residence or a safe. If they are stored and locked away, there's less of a chance for something like this to happen," said Phillipsburg Police Chief Robert Stettner.
Fran Ludwig, who lives across the street from the playground, said hearing about the found gun is upsetting.
"This has been our home for 50 years. Our children played here, our grandchildren. It's always been home and all the people here have always been nice. Things are changing but it's just so sad. I'm just so happy that nobody got hurt," Ludwig said.
Police are still investigating.