KITCHENER -- Waterloo regional police are investigating after finding a loaded handgun at Shantz Park on Manchester Road in Kitchener.

Officials say they located the loaded gun under a tree around 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

The police service's drugs and firearms unit is investigating.

The park, located within the Stanley Park Conservation Area, features a well-used walking trail. The park itself also has a children's playground.

For locals who use the park daily, the discovery is a scary situation that could've been much worse.

"When I first heard about it I felt so disappointed and really uncomfortable knowing that kind of thing is happening in such a quiet, close-knit neighbourhood," said Kitchener resident Tracey Kuepfer. "The scary part also is that a worry that maybe it could have been a child or teenager that found the loaded gun and it could have been a disaster."

Anyone with any information is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.

With files from CTV Kitchener's Tegan Versolatto.