DRAPER — Police are searching for the owner of a gun found in a women's restroom at the Living Planet Aquarium on Tuesday.
About 12:40 p.m., a patron at the aquarium discovered a loaded .380 pistol in a concealed carry holster sitting on top of a folded-up diaper changing table, Draper Police Lt. Chad Carpenter said.
Alyssa Fujimoto, who says she found the gun, described the discovery to the Deseret News Tuesday night and shared her fear about the danger it posed.
Fujimoto said she went into the restroom, which was near a play area where "kids are going in and out of all day," with her 4-year-old son and newborn to change her newborn's diaper.
Fujimoto said she saw what looked like a wallet. When she picked it up, she realized it was a gun.
"My child who came in with me, he usually opens the changing table for me, and this time, he was using the restroom while I went in. So I went to open it, and if it would've fallen, it was loaded, who knows?" she asked.
The mother then called police while aquarium employees made sure no one entered the bathroom until police arrived.
Fujimoto said she overheard an aquarium staff member joking with a security guard and saying "at least you have something exciting to write in your case report."
She says she found that upsetting "because they're joking (about) a gun that was around children."
Carpenter said because the gun was holstered, "it wasn't easily accessible …. The police officer was able to render it safe," he said.
The person who owns the gun is encouraged to call the Draper Police Department at 801-576-6300.
"We want to meet with them and just get their side of what happened" and give the gun back, the lieutenant said. Police do not plan on recommending charges against the gun owner, he said.
"I believe it was somebody that just forgot their gun. But, you know, it's not an uncommon occurrence," he said, adding that people often leave guns in bathrooms and other places.
If you ever do come across a firearm, don't touch it — call police and let them handle it so no one gets hurt, Carpenter said.
He said it is common for people with concealed firearm permits to keep their guns loaded.
"It just depends what that person feels comfortable with," he said.
Fujimoto said she was upset when she learned Draper police do not plan to recommend charges against the gun owner.
"I think charges should be pressed because the owner of the gun was negligent. There's no reason they should set a gun down in that area for any reason. The aquarium has signs all over the windows that they don't allow firearms within the facilities. That should never happen that guns be set … in an area that has such a heavy flow of children. And it was a tragedy waiting to happen."