(EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story, the model of the weapon used was incorrectly identified by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and this news organization. The weapon was a Century Arms RAS-47.)
Two boys playing found a weapon that Warren County Sheriff’s investigators said was used months ago in the attempted murder of one of their deputies.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the boys — playing in the area behind Jonathan Lane in Landen — found the weapon used in the shooting of Deputy Sheriff Katie Barnes on June 9, 2016.
The weapon, a Century Arms RAS-47, was found in an area which is best described as a drainage or run-off area; yet near a pond searched a year and half ago. The weapon itself was not functional in its current condition, yet it had one live round chambered, and additional ammunition in the magazine, according to Barry K. Riley, chief deputy.
“We are incredibly relieved knowing this weapon has been recovered, and we are thankful the two young boys made the right decision to immediately turn the weapon over to their father who then contacted us,” Riley said in a statement.
Mohammed Laghaoui was sentenced to 36 years in prison after an emotional statement by Barnes, the deputy he wounded in Deerfield Twp. after she responded for the second time to a domestic violence call to his family’s apartment.
Laghaoui also wounded his father in the incident.
The gun was found near the scene of the shooting, outside an apartment on Jonathan Lane where Laghaoui lived with his father and brother.
It matched the make, model and serial number of packaging recovered from Laghaoui’s car.
The boys, 9 and 15, found it in in the spillway between two ponds in the development.
Deputies had searched the area repeatedly after the June 2016 active shooter incident that prompted a lockdown of the area while law enforcement searched for Laghaoui.
It was unclear what led to it being discovered more than a year and a half later.
“Who knows? Who knows if it got washed up there,” Riley said. “It could have been put there. We just don’t know.”
Barnes was not immediately available to comment on the discovery.
“I’m sure she’s relieved,” Riley said. “This was the missing piece.”
Nadeem Quraishi, Laghaoui’s lawyer, said he was unsure if this would impact the case, but that he planned to examine the rifle.
“It hasn’t all sunk in for me yet,” Quraishi said. “It may have been found right where he said it was.”
The discovery could help impact the conviction for tampering with evidence, Quraishi said.