San Francisco police are investigating whether a loaded handgun found by a group of children in a sandbox at the Visitacion Valley Playground on Tuesday was used in a shooting in the city over the weekend.

Police spokesman Officer Boaz Mariles said some children found the pistol, which was loaded with its hammer cocked back, in a sandbox at the playground in the 200 block of Leland Avenue at about 4:20 p.m.

The children told adults about the gun and police officers then responded to the playground, Mariles said. Officers secured the weapon and processed the scene.

“It could have ended horrifically,” Mariles said of the grim discovery of the gun.

He said police are investigating whether the weapon was used in a shooting Nov. 28 at the intersection of Wilde Avenue and Rutland Street. One person sustained a non-life-threatening injury in that shooting and no arrests have been made.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!