HARRISBURG, NC (WBTV) - An internal investigation is underway after a North Carolina state investigator is accused of leaving a firearm inside a public restroom before it was found by a five-year-old girl.
The father of the little girl contacted WBTV Tuesday asking us to dig into the story.
The man said his family was eating at the Mexicasa Restaurant & Grill in Harrisburg Saturday night when the little girl went into the restroom. She came back out and told her mom that there was a gun in the restroom stall.
The mother saw the gun and the family notified the restaurant staff. The staff then got the gun and called the Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office.
According to the sheriff's office, deputies arrived on scene a few minutes later and a female agent had already come back to the restaurant to get her firearm. Officials believe the agent got to her vehicle, noticed the missing firearm and came back inside.
According to a spokesperson from the SBI, the agency is aware of the incident and is conducting an internal investigation.
One official told WBTV the young girl was "clearly trained well" to tell her parents as soon as she saw the firearm.
Jennifer Sarris always goes with her 5-year-old daughter when she goes to the bathroom, just in case she needs something.
"I just knew by the panic in her voice, something was wrong," Jennifer Sarris said.
The mother told WBTV her family openly talks with their three children about gun safety.
"We make them understand, bad things can happen when you play with it like a toy, because it's not a toy," Jennifer Sarris said.
The 5-year-old's father, Jody said after the waiter removed the gun, a woman returned for the gun.
"I noticed she walked straight in the bathroom with a look on her face, like a panic look, and it was even more so when she walked out realizing it was gone," Jody Sarris recalled.
Jody Sarris said the woman showed a badge and walked out with the firearm.
An SBI spokesperson confirmed the agency is in the midst of an internal investigation to figure out what happened.
Sarris believes law enforcement should be held to a higher standard.
"I know we're all human, we all make mistakes. That's a pretty big mistake for my 5-year-old little girl to find a gun in the bathroom," Jody Sarris said.
The SBI spokesperson could not say if the agent was on leave, or if the gun was loaded.
All are questions the Sarris family wants answered.
"To me it is a big deal, because it could have took my child's life, it could have took someone else's life if her or someone else had found it and been curious," Jennifer Sarris said.
The name of the agent has not been released.