LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Three teenage boys playing in Lawrence got more than they bargained for when they went hunting for a lost ball in an overgrown patch of brush and weeds.

The boys, ages 13, 14 and 15, were playing at about 9 p.m. Sunday when their ball rolled into the brush, police said. One boy went hunting for it and instead found a loaded handgun with the safety switch off, meaning it was ready to fire, Chief John Romero said.

Police think the gun may have been tossed there by a suspect who fired at officers during a chase on June 16.

"We believe it very well may be the weapon he used," Romero told The Eagle-Tribune.

The chase ended in a crash close to where the gun was found.

The man who allegedly fired the gun was apprehended, but was unarmed and a search of the area did not turn up a weapon. He could face additional charges if he's tied to the gun.

The three boys and two adults touched the gun after it was found because they thought it might be a toy.

One boy's parents took the gun to their apartment and contacted police.


Information from: Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.),