WINK News finds gun left in Babcock Ranch restaurant bathroom

A dangerous weapon was out in a place open to the public, waiting to fall into the hands of a child. We were in Babcock Ranch when we discovered a gun lying in a restaurant bathroom. As one might expect, parents were not happy to learn about the owner’s carelessness.

Families with children were inside Slater’s Goods & Provisions Thursday when we found a handgun inside the restaurant’s bathroom within arm’s length of any child.

“That’s what’s scary about it,” Ann Zapata said. “What if it was a kid that went into the bathroom?”

What’s even scarier is one of the Slater’s employees who removed the gun from the bathroom said it didn’t appear to have the safety on.

“My son probably grabbing the gun, thinking it was a toy gun, Zapata said. “Knowing kids play a lot of Fortnight, that could be a danger for them.”

Nobody knows how long the gun was left in the restaurant’s bathroom at this time. But once notified, Slater’s staff took action.

“The person who left it wanted to retrieve it,” said Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. “But we went through our protocol, which was to alert the authorities.”

We spoke to a retired FBI agent who said the gun owner likely won’t get penalized for this incident.

“There are no penalties set out in the law for carelessness,” former agent Bret Hood said. “And what you saw today was carelessness. Somebody forgot their gun, and bad things can happen when people forget their gun. It’s one of the dangers of the conceal handgun law.”

Babcock Ranch’s security secured the gun and called Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. The owner of the gun will have to go to the sheriff’s office and prove the gun belongs to them.

“Be more responsible of it, especially in a family place,” Zapata said.

Zapata also stood up to anyone who comes into a situation like we did.

“When you see something say something,” Zapata said.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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