AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora teenager is in custody after police say they found a loaded handgun in his backpack. The person who turned him in? His own mom.

Crystal McCoy said she found the gun on Thursday morning and placed it on the counter while she talked with police.

“While I was on the phone with the police, my son took the gun and ran off, and I went hysterical,” McCoy said. “I didn’t know how to handle a gun. That’s why I set it on the counter.”

Aurora Police say they found the 15-year-old in a field near Hampden Avenue and Picadilly Road and arrested him after a brief pursuit.

McCoy said she has no idea where her son got the gun or what he planned on using it for.

“He called me from detention, and he’s very angry with me of course,” she said. “But he told me that he has this gun for his safety. Guns kill kids, and a kid having a gun who doesn’t know how to use a gun is not safe.”

Aurora Police praised McCoy’s actions Thursday, saying she made the right decision to call police.

“The mother absolutely did the right thing,” Aurora Police spokesperson Matthew Longshore said. “This is something we’ve been asking from our parents for months, if not years. Get involved with your kid’s life.”

Longshore said the handgun was loaded when police found it.

“His intentions may have not been bad, but him having the gun is concerning, so we’re so glad that we were able to make that arrest and get that gun off the street,” he said.

McCoy said the decision to turn her son in was difficult, but one she had to make.

“At some point, you have to decide whether you’re going to be your child’s friend or a mom,” she said. “And I can at least sleep tonight, knowing my kid’s alive.”

Police say the teenager will be charged with juvenile in possession of a weapon.