By CHUCK MARTIN
News Staff Reporter
MOUNT VERNON — Chase Zolman, 15, and his friend, Justin Jenkins, 17, decided they were going to do a little mushroom hunting Monday after school and headed for nearby Wolf Run Park.
Starting near the “bark park,” the boys headed off the trails and were following a stream bed when they reached a bridge on one of the trails where it crossed the ditch. From the bridge, they could see the back of the Knox County Jail.
Jenkins said Chase looked under the bridge and it looked like something had been placed up on a support beam under the bridge.
“He poked at it and I could see what looked like a gun barrel, Jenkins said. “We called his parents and his Mom came over while his Dad called the sheriff’s office.”
Chase’s mother, Misty Zolman, said she went straight to where the boys had called from and watched a deputy retrieve the object, which was wrapped in two Walmart bags.
Mrs. Zolman said the deputy pulled out the gun, which he said was a Star .45 automatic. The gun was loaded. She said the deputy told them it was probably either used in a crime or was going to be used.
“It was a scary find,” she said. Luckily, the boys knew not to mess with it and called her.
“If someone else had found it, it might have been dangerous,” she said.
Sheriff Dave Shaffer said the gun was reported stolen from a northern Ohio county. Detectives have been in contact with law enforcement there to see if they have any suspects that may have a connection in the Knox County area.
Although Wolf Run Park is a popular place to hunt mushrooms, Justin said he and Chase are novices and haven’t succeeded in finding many. They were working along the stream bed because they thought that might be a likely place to find mushrooms.
Jenkins said the bridge is about four feet over the small stream bed and Chase decided to look under the bridge, then looked up and saw the bag.
Jenkins is a student at the Knox County Career Center and Zolman is a student at Mount Vernon High School.
Jenkins said he did find one mushroom Monday — while walking back to the parking lot with the deputy.