PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kira Rodenbush said when her kids play outside the rule is they stay on the sidewalk. But last Friday her 5-year-old son, Sam, didn’t have to leave the sidewalk to find big trouble.

Surveillance video from a neighbor’s front porch in Southeast Portland shows Sam walking by. A few seconds later, the audio picks up his voice as he told his dad he found a “gun in the bush.”

Sam Rodenbush, 5, found a fully loaded .38 in the bushes in this Southeast Portland neighborhood on June 4, 2021 (KOIN)

“He had just got far enough away from my husband for him to come out to the sidewalk and say, ‘Buddy, get back here right now. What are you doing?'” Kira told KOIN 6 News.

The video shows Sam proudly shouting his discovery as he walks back up the sidewalk holding the fully-loaded handgun.

“He said, ‘Daddy, I found a gun and I’m going to shoot you with it. Can I shoot you with it?'” Kira said. “My husband said ‘No, no, no. You know what, Buddy, that looks like that might not be a toy. Why don’t you put it down?’ as he’s coming towards him.”

The gun was not hidden, just tossed against a retaining wall, she said. The people who owned the house “were terrified” and said they didn’t own that gun.

Sam’s parents immediately called the police non-emergency line and stored the gun until a Portland police officer showed up.

“The officer came and said, ‘I have a 2-year-old son. This is terrifying to me to consider,'” Kira said.
The officer “removed a full clip, put the safety on and said, ‘This is a .38.'”

Sam Rodenbush, 5, found this fully loaded .38 in bushes in her SE Portland neighborhood, June 4, 2021 (Courtesy: Kira Rodenbush)

Kira Rodenbush didn’t watch the video for days because she knows this story could have ended much differently.

“I went to sleep that night holding my son. I slept for 12 hours and I woke up and I began shaking uncontrollably with this sort of PTSD thinking what could have happened.”

The next school day, Sam’s pre-school teacher gave a lesson on gun safety. Sam checked out a book at the library that day: “It’s time to call 911.”