In the NYC woods yards, a dog walker discovers an AR-15-style rifle sticking out of the leaves, far from the playground

A regular walk in the park with his dog turned into an unsettling experience for Joel Kuszai in New York City’s Forest Park, Queens. Kuszai, a local resident, stumbled upon a startling discovery not far from a children’s playground — an AR-15 style rifle emerging from beneath a pile of leaves.

Initially, Kuszai mistook the object for a toy, a reasonable assumption given the proximity to Mary Whalen Playground, a popular spot for families and children. He told the New York Post, “My first thought was, ‘That’s a crazy looking toy gun.’” However, upon closer inspection, the realization hit him. It wasn’t a toy, but a real assault weapon. “I was completely blown away to see something like that,” he expressed, capturing the shock of finding such an item in a family-oriented park.

The discovery became more alarming when Kuszai noticed that the rifle was in an open gun case. Nearby, he found ammunition, another empty gun case, and a safe filled with personal documents. This cache of items was unsettlingly located just a few hundred feet from where children, including his own, regularly play.

The father of two expressed his concern, especially as his 10-year-old daughter had been picnicking in the area just a day before. The location was a familiar one for his family and others in the community, often used for sledding during snowy weather.

Reacting responsibly, Kuszai called 911 to report his find. NYPD officers who arrived on the scene later confirmed that the gun had been reported stolen. This piece of information added another layer of mystery and concern to the incident, as police began their investigation into how the weapon ended up in such a public and family-friendly space.

One theory, as reported by the New York Post, suggested that the items might have rolled down the hill from a nearby parkway. Whether discarded or lost, the presence of these items in a public park raised serious safety concerns. For Kuszai and other parents in the area, the incident was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of urban spaces and the importance of vigilance, even in familiar and seemingly safe environments.