By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The beach at Coney Island is supposed to be a place to find sea shells, not deadly weapons.
A 10-year-old girl discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in the sand at Coney Island Monday afternoon, according to police, who said the youngster and her mother turned the weapon in to the lifeguard on duty.
No one was injured in the incident, which police said took place on the beach in the vicinity of West 19th Street.
The child was playing at the shoreline at around 2:16 p.m. on Aug. 11 when she discovered a gun under approximately two feet of water, police told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The girl and her mother calmly brought the weapon over to a lifeguard station and told the lifeguard on duty what had happened. The lifeguard immediately called police.
Cops from the 60th Precinct arrived at the scene and safeguarded the 9mm pistol, police said. The weapon was taken to a Police Department lab for testing and further investigation.
While the incident was alarming, it did not necessitate the closure of the beach, according to police.
In the wake of the incident, Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) called on the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to provide additional Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers to patrol the 2.5-mile beach and boardwalk.
Treyger said he initially made the request for more PEP officers during budget negotiations earlier this year and again following drowning tragedies in Coney Island earlier this summer.
“Hearing that a child came across a loaded handgun while simply playing in the sand was shocking and concerning to say the least. I am very relieved that nobody was injured or killed as a result, and I am not willing to keep taking chances when it comes to the public’s safety in Coney Island. This must serve as a wakeup call to City Hall and the Parks Department regarding the need to provide additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to our community, especially given the increasing number of New Yorkers and tourists visiting Coney Island,” Treyger said.
Following the drowning of 10-year-old Takara McDuffy in the waters off Coney Island last month, Treyger and Borough President Eric Adams held a press conference on the boardwalk to call for steps to help prevent future drowning tragedies.
During that press conference, Treyger said there is a dire need for additional PEP officers to increase safety for beach-goers and to ease the burden on the 60th Precinct, which is responsible for the entire amusement area in addition to the neighborhood’s residential blocks. Treyger and Adams formally made the request for more PEP officers in an Aug. 7 letter to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver.
“Considering the growing number of people flocking to Coney Island to enjoy the great amenities including our beach and boardwalk, we must make sure that southern Brooklyn receives its fair share of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers. This year’s city budget specifically included funding to hire additional officers, and I am asking that they be deployed to Coney Island in light of the clear need that exists here,” Treyger said.