Loaded gun found in trash can at Cook County Jail

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CHICAGO – The Cook County Jail was on lockdown for the majority of Tuesday after a loaded gun was found in a trash can.

Officials said the gun was a .32-caliber Kel-Tec handgun small enough to fit in the palm of someone’s hand. The gun had one bullet in its chamber.

The gun was found around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning in the receiving area where prisoners from other agencies come before being booked in and going to bond court.

The inmate may have tossed the gun in the trash after realizing they would be passing through a metal detector, officials said.

Cara Smith, chief policy offer for the Cook County Sheriff's Office, believes the gun was carried in by a prisoner who was transported by another agency.

Anders Lindall, AFSCME Council 31, said the discovery of a handgun "underscores the risks that are ever-present for jail employees."

"Concerned about their own safety and that of the public, the Cook County Jail sergeants and lieutenants represented by our union continue to push for adequate staffing to fill posts, reduce overtime and maintain security," he said.

All programming in that jail was stopped as jail officials continued to investigate.

"That lockdown has been ongoing for hours and it has not resulted in any findings of any other weapons or anything else of concern," Smith said.

Officials said a gun in the jail is very rare. Officials said it has been a few years since they found a gun.