Lawrence teenagers find gun while chasing a runaway ball

Three teenage boys playing ball in Lawrence discovered a gun Sunday night.

After their ball rolled into a yard with overgrown grass on Conduit Street, one of the boys found a loaded Walther P22 handgun with the safety off, said Lawrence Police Chief John Romero. The boy picked up the gun. Neither he nor his parents knew if it was real or fake, police said.

The boy’s parents contacted police, who think the gun may be related to an incident on June 16, when Michael Realejo, 25, of Lawrence crashed his car and fired shots at police.

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Realejo was arrested after he was found hiding near where the gun was found, according to police. Police were unable to find the gun he allegedly used at the time.

Realejo was charged with assault with intent to murder with a firearm, assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless driving, refusal to stop for a police officer, speeding, and leaving the scene of an accident, according to police.

The gun has been sent to a lab for fingerprinting. Because the exterior will bear the fingerprints of the boys and parents who picked it up, testing will focus more on the magazine, shell casings, and interior of the gun, which the suspect may have handled, according to Romero.

If the tests show Realejo’s fingerprints, he could face illegal firearm charges.

Realejo pleaded not guilty at his arraignment June 17, said Essex district attorney’s spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.

He was held on $250,000 cash bail and is due back in court on July 17 for a probable cause hearing, said Kimball-Monahan.