A loaded semi-automatic weapon was found in a Bertie-Martin Regional Jail bathroom, discovered by a detention officer working in the building.
Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said in an interview Tuesday the gun was deliberately placed underneath a trash bag, inside a bathroom trash container.
"We found the gun within the same day it was left there," Sheriff Holley said. "This was no accident. It was a loaded, .380 semi-automatic weapon."
The type of weapon found is a handgun, capable of holding seven to 10 bullets. The gun was discovered in a women's bathroom in the jail lobby, accessible to only visitors and jail staff.
The gun was found July 14 in the jail complex located in Windsor. The ongoing investigation was revealed Tuesday when a jail insider leaked the story to the media.
There are no metal detectors in the lobby, but a surveillance camera records every visitor entering and leaving the room. Sheriff Holley said the person who planted the gun was desperate.
"He or she is someone who doesn't have a lot to lose," Holley said. "Definitely nothing good would have come out of it."
For now, the bathrooms remain locked to visitors - they can only be used if an officer is asked for a key. No suspects or charges have been announced.