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This screengrab from Smith & Wesson's website shows the .40-caliber M&P Shield pistol. 

Two children found a gun in a backpack left by its owner near a bike trail by the Lincoln Children's Zoo on Tuesday night, police said Thursday.

The children found the backpack, which had a .40-caliber M&P Shield inside, near A Street and Memorial Drive sometime between 5 and 8 p.m., Officer Angela Sands said.

They turned it over to their father, who called police, she said.

Officers found the gun's owner, who had called to report the backpack missing just before 8 p.m.

The owner left it by the trail while he worked on a nearby construction site, he told police.

Zoo spokesman Ryan Gross said the contractor was employed by an Iowa firm hired by the city for a resurfacing project on A Street, and was not working on the zoo's ongoing expansion.

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Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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