POLICE: Four-year-old finds loaded gun after church service; owner cited

A Sneads Ferry man has been cited by police after they say a four-year-old found his gun in a restroom stall after a church service.

Holly Ridge police say the child discovered the loaded weapon in the Holly Ridge Community Center. The Lifewalk Church uses the town-owned facility to hold church services on Sunday morning.

Police cited Claude Haynes III, 70, with endangering a child. The citation says the four-year-old was playing with the gun after finding it in the restroom after church.

Concealed handguns are prohibited by town ordinance in the community center.

The church says it didn't know the member had a weapon, and it expects them to abide by the ordinance. The pastor contacted Haynes and asked him not to bring the gun back to church.

Brian Lapointe says his son never actually touched the weapon, while he is disappointed in the way the pastor handled the situation on Sunday.

Police say because of the citation, Haynes' concealed carry permit will now be re-evaluated by the sheriff's office.

The man has a November 10th court date.