On June 12, police identified the suspect in this incident: David Dennis | Source: Myrtle Beach Police Department
A photo of the gun that was found and is being held as evidence. Source: Myrtle Beach Police Department
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A real gun was found in the toy aisle of Target on Seaboard Street. The police report states a loss prevention worker stumbled upon the gun on the night of Friday, May 30.
The gun was in plain view on top of a superhero Playskool toy box when the worker found it; he thought it was a toy. He realized it was real after seeing it was loaded with live ammo.
On Thursday, June 12, Myrtle Beach Police identified the suspect wanted for unlawful carrying of a handgun in reference to the incident as David Dennis. Police are asking anyone with information on Dennis or his whereabouts to contact MBPD at 843-918-1911.
The fact that it was found in an aisle geared toward children makes some shoppers feel this was no accident.
"I don't think someone would accidentally drop off a gun. I think he purposely left it there for a child to pick up and think, 'Oh it's a toy gun,' and accidentally point it at somebody and it goes off," says Kennedy McClain.
Fletcher Armstrong III, a Concealed Weapons Permit instructor with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, explains it is never too early to start talking gun safety with children.
He narrows it down into four easy-to-understand steps: "If a child comes across a gun they should follow four steps: Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area, and tell an adult."
The police report mentions there was a suspicious male walking up and down each toy aisle, including the aisle the gun was found.
On Thursday, June 5, the Myrtle Beach Police Department released a photo of the man they are attempting to identify in reference to the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective H. Jones at 843-918-1911.
On Friday, June 6, Myrtle Beach Police released the identity of the last known registered owner of the handgun. She was questioned by police that day, and no charges were filed against her.
Senior Specialist of Target's Public Relations Department, Evan Lapiska, sent WMBF News the following statement:
"The safety and security of our team members and guests is a top priority for Target. We take these matters very seriously and we are partnering with local law enforcement on this incident. Because this matter is under active investigation, we are unable to share additional information."
Shoppers say they are thankful the gun was found before a child mistook it for a toy.