“We are incredibly relieved knowing this weapon has been recovered, and we are thankful the two young boys made the right decision to immediately turn the weapon over to their father who then contacted us,” Riley said in a statement.
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Mohammed Laghaoui was sentenced to 36 years in prison after an emotional statement by Barnes, the deputy he wounded in Deerfield Twp. after she responded for the second time to a domestic violence call to his family’s apartment.
Laghaoui also wounded his father in the incident.
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The gun was found near the scene of the shooting, outside an apartment on Jonathan Lane where Laghaoui lived with his father and brother.
It matched the make, model and serial number of packaging recovered from Laghaoui’s car.
The boys, 9 and 15, found it in in the spillway between two ponds in the development.
Deputies had searched the area repeatedly after the June 2016 active shooter incident that prompted a lockdown of the area while law enforcement searched for Laghaoui.
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It was unclear what led to it being discovered more than a year and a half later.
“Who knows? Who knows if it got washed up there,” Riley said. “It could have been put there. We just don’t know.”
Barnes was not immediately available to comment on the discovery.
“I’m sure she’s relieved,” Riley said. “This was the missing piece.”
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Nadeem Quraishi, Laghaoui’s lawyer, said he was unsure if this would impact the case, but that he planned to examine the rifle.
“It hasn’t all sunk in for me yet,” Quraishi said. “It may have been found right where he said it was.”
The discovery could help impact the conviction for tampering with evidence, Quraishi said.