A group of seventh-grade students on a field trip to see The Hobbit found a loaded gun in a movie theater Wednesday morning.

Tillamook school Superintendent Randy Schild said 125 students went on the field trip to Tillamook Coliseum Theatre as a reward for good grades.

As the first group of children entered the theater to sit down, two boys found the gun on the ground in the theater aisle.

"(I thought) was it real? Is it loaded?" said Kolton McKinney, about the discovery.

The boy next to Kolton, Levi Crabtree, immediately told a school staff worker, who in turn called police.

"I'm a boy scout and Kolton and me took a hunter safety class," said Levi, about his decision not to touch the gun. "One of the rules is that you treat all guns as if they're loaded."

Tillamook Police Chief Terry Wright said officers took possession of the gun. It was a small caliber, fully loaded, semi-automatic pistol with one round in the chamber. The safety was off.

On Wednesday night, Tillamook police said a 61-year-old man went into the theater to ask if someone had found his gun.

Officers contacted the man and learned he realized his gun was lost Tuesday night at the theater so he tried calling the business. He said there was no answer, so he tried again Wednesday.

After being unable to reach any employees by phone, he drove back to the theater to see if his gun had been placed in lost-and-found.

Police did not identify the man, but officers said he has a Tillamook County concealed handgun license and his information will be provided to the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office. A report will then be sent to the district attorney's office for review.

The weapon will be held as evidence for the time being.

The gun's owner told police he never thought to call law enforcement officers to report the gun as lost.

Wright said police officers are happy that the students immediately told the school staff because it could have ended badly if they had picked up the weapon.

"Our students reacted exactly like we would hope and that is they recognized that is was a gun, recognized that they needed to stay away and contact a teacher immediately," Schild said. "I hope this is a learning opportunity not only for our students, but any students that see it on TV or anywhere else."

Once the gun was removed from the theater, the students watched the movie; though one student asked to leave.

An automated phone message was sent out to all parents who had a student on the field trip.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.


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