PORTLAND, Ore. — A Southeast Portland family is reeling over a near-tragedy after their 5-year-old son found a loaded handgun near their home and picked it up Friday afternoon.
Kira Rodenbush said her son had just been outside playing when he found the gun next to some bushes along the sidewalk. A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured Sam walking back to his home while waiving the gun.
"My husband yelled, 'Sam has a gun! He found a gun!'" the mother recalled. She said the gun was a was loaded, .38 Ruger with the safety off.
"[Sam] came back saying, ‘I found a gun in the bushes,’" said Rodenbush. "'I want to shoot you with this gun, can I shoot you with it?'"
Rodenbush instructed Sam to set the gun down while Sam’s father called the police.
"When the officer arrived he said, 'This terrifies me,'" said Rodenbush. "'I'm the father of a 2-year-old. I can't believe something like this could happen.'"
After the initial shock wore off, Rodenbush said her thoughts shifted to what could have happened.
"Aside from [Sam’s] physical bodily harm, the fact that he could have potentially hurt someone else. The idea that my husband could have been injured, maimed or killed by our 5-year-old son completely inadvertently, and not through any fault of our own."
Rodenbush shared what happened with Sam's preschool teachers. Sam and his classmates learned how to call 911 and what to do if they find something dangerous like a gun.
It's the best Rodenbush could do with something that never should have happened.
"To the person who would have just tossed a loaded weapon onto a tree-lined street full of toys,” said Rodenbush, “I don't know what you say to that person."