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Lawrence boys find loaded gun in yard

Authorities test weapon for possible link to June police chase and shooting

Three teenage boys playing ball in Lawrence made a startling discovery Sunday night — a loaded handgun with the safety off.

After their ball rolled into a yard with overgrown grass on Conduit Street, one of the boys found the P22 handgun and picked it up, Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said Tuesday. Neither the boy nor his parents knew whether the weapon was real, police said.

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The boy’s parents then contacted police, who think the gun may be related to an event on June 16, when Michael Realejo, 25, of Lawrence, crashed his car and allegedly fired shots at police, who were chasing him.

Realejo was arrested after he was found hiding near where the gun was discovered, according to police. Police were unable to find the gun he allegedly used.

Realejo was charged with assault with intent to murder with a firearm, assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless driving, refusal to stop for a police officer, speeding, and leaving the scene of an accident, according to police.

The gun has been sent to a lab for fingerprinting. Because the exterior will bear the fingerprints of the boys and parents who picked it up, testing will focus more on the magazine, shell casings, and interior of the gun, which the suspect may have handled, according to Romero.

If the tests show Realejo’s fingerprints, he could face illegal firearm charges.

Realejo pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on June 17, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney.

He was held on $250,000 cash bail and is due in court July 17 for a probable cause hearing, Kimball-Monahan said.

Melissa can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson
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