At about 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, police responded to a report of a loaded assault rifle in a cactus outside Zimmerman Library, according to a State of New Mexico Uniform Incident Report.
Officers took into evidence the Smith & Wesson AR style rifle, along with 15 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. It is unclear who left the weapon and how long it had been there, according to the report.
Local photographer Milton Lau was taking portraits when he noticed the weapon hidden in a cactus on the west side of the building near the Duck Pond. Lau said he picked it up, thinking that it was an Airsoft rifle. When he realized it was real, he set it down and called the police.
Upon arrival, the responding officer removed the magazine and cleared the chamber. The officer checked the security cameras and did not see anybody nearby, according to the report.
“It had dust, and dirt and cobwebs,” Lau said. “I happened to be the only person that ever saw it because I was there.”
Lau added that the situation was quickly resolved and he did not feel that it was a major incident.
The case is now closed, according to the UNMPD Daily Crime Log, but it is unclear whether the perpetrator was found.
Lauren Lifke is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @lauren_lifke
Lauren Lifke is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo.