By Aisha I. Jefferson
Dan Judson is grateful he is able to stick around most mornings to make sure his 13-year-old daughter gets on the school bus safely.
But Friday was different.
Kayla, who is in the eighth grade at Dutchtown Middle School, was walking to the bus stop around 7:50 a.m. when she found a loaded, .40-caliber Glock 22 handgun leaning on the curb of her Dogwood Trail subdivision in Stockbridge.
Judson said he was pulling out of his driveway, on his way to work in Forest Park, when his daughter approached him about her discovery.
"It was in a holster, filled up and had a bullet in the chamber ready to go," said Judson, who called Henry County Police.
The handgun was found in front of a neighbor's home, about 50 feet from where the Judsons live. Judson said a toddler also lives in that home.
"She walked out the house and saw it this morning, and almost fainted," Judson said Friday about his neighbor. "It shocked her."
Judson said he is glad the gun was found before getting into the wrong hands.
"The place is covered with children," Judson said of his subdivision.
Judson said his neighbor did not know where the handgun came from, and added that gun shots are not heard around his "very quiet neighborhood."
Judson operates his own business, Judson Transmission, and does not have any affiliation with a law enforcement agency. And to his knowledge, neither does any of his neighbors.
"Based on the fact that the serial number was removed, I think that it's a good possibility that the gun is stolen," said Lt. Jason Bolton spokesman for the Henry County Police. He added that a detective will be assigned to the case to find out the handgun's origin.
With the handgun bagged and sealed as evidence, Bolton said there will be an attempt to locate or identify fingerprints. He said the handgun, along with the standard leather holster it was in, are items that anyone could purchase.
Judson said the handgun was not there when his daughter arrived from school Thursday afternoon. He said he didn't notice it when his family came home from a baseball game after 10 p.m. Thursday.
While working on the computer, Judson said he did notice a car driving through his cul-de-sac around midnight Friday.
"I try to watch out for anything out of the ordinary in the neighborhood," Judson said.