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OREM — A Utah County family said they were shocked that their 8-year-old son discovered a loaded handgun at an indoor play center.
Allison Tiné said the gun was discovered Monday afternoon after a large Valentine's Day party for a home school group at Classic Fun Center in Orem.
"I was incredibly upset," Tiné said. "My father is law enforcement so I'm familiar with guns."
Before leaving, Tiné said her son, Oscar Govatos, asked her to climb through the playground climbing structure.
"When I was halfway through the tunnel, the gun was about right in front of me," Govatos said.
He said he started to pick up the handgun to move it to the side, thinking it was a toy.
"I realized it didn't have an orange tip and it was way too heavy to be a toy and so I turned around to my mom and said, 'I think I found a real live gun,'" he said.
"I crawled closer and then I looked at it more closely and I could see that it was very much a real gun," Tiné said. "I immediately said, 'That's real. Do not touch it. Back away from it.'"
Tiné instructed Oscar and his sister to climb out of the play structure and tell management. She watched the gun until police arrived.
"The officer came up and he picked up the gun and he took the magazine out and it was full of bullets and he checked it and yelled down to his partner, who was down below, he said, 'It's loaded and there's one in the chamber.'"
Orem police confirmed the gun was loaded and that officers are investigating the incident. The owner of the gun has come forward, according to Lt. Nick Thomas.
Tiné shared the experience on social media and encouraged parents to teach their kids to never touch a gun and to immediately tell a grown-up.
"Even with the safety on, it really doesn't take that much to flip the safety off, even if a kid didn't know what they were doing that it would have been ready to go," Tiné said. "It could have been an absolute disaster."
Govatos' parents said they've taught him and his siblings about gun safety and were grateful he was the one who stumbled upon the gun.
"I'm really grateful that we took the time to have those conversations with them and that way it prevented any kind of tragedy from happening," Tiné said.
Thomas said it's too early in the investigation to say if anyone will face charges.