A police dog searching for a handgun hidden in a downtown Lawrence snowbank early Saturday morning managed to fire the weapon with his paw, according to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
No one one was harmed, officials said.
Maurice Pratt, a spokesman for the department, said the sheriff’s office was called to help Lawrence Police after gunshots were heard in the downtown area, which has a busy nightlife scene on Friday and Saturday nights.
Police pulled over a car with five occupants believed to be involved in the reported shooting, Pratt said. After the car pulled over, a man got out and allegedly “hid something in a snow bank,’’ he said.
A police dog and his handler were searching the snowbank when the dog began digging furiously, discovering the firearm soon after.
“When he was digging, his paw hit the trigger mechanism, which discharged the weapon,’’ Pratt said.
Pratt did not know whether the car’s occupants were arrested. Lawrence Police could not be reached for comment.