Everyone has a story. What's yours?
Linda Thomas

Police explain the missile launcher turned in during Seattle's gun buyback

Detectives from the Arson/Bomb Squad will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Division on Monday and see if they can determine through the serial number the status of this launch tube. (Photo courtesy Seattle PD) | Zoom
Somebody turned in a missile launcher?

The Seattle Police Department has gotten a lot of questions about one of the more unusual items collected during Saturday's gun buyback event.

Seattle PD spokesman Mark Jamieson explains:

A man standing outside the gun buyback event was showing his recently purchased launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile.

Naturally, this created a bit of excitement, and several people at the event informed officers there was a man walking around with a missile launcher.

Officers spoke to the man, who was very cooperative, and told officers that he had just purchased it for $100 from another person at today's event. Officers then asked the man if they could take a closer look at the launcher.

The launch tube assembly for the Stinger is what holds the actual missile and is designed to be disposable after it is fired, as this one clearly was. Officers checked the tube and confirmed that there was no missile inside. However, even an expended launch tube is still a controlled military item. This item is not available to civilians through any surplus or disposal program offered by the government. Items such as this are required to be accounted for until they are ultimately destroyed.

Detectives from the Arson/Bomb Squad will notify the Army Criminal Investigation Division on Monday and see if they can determine through the serial number the status of this particular launch tube.

The man was provided with a case number and a short report was written regarding the circumstances surrounding this item. Officers took possession of the launch tube. The man did indicate he would like to keep the launch tube if he is legally able to do so. The man agreed to accept a gift card as compensation if the launch tube is not returned to him.

It is most likely, however, that the launch tube was previously obtained unlawfully from the military in which case, SPD will likely return the item to Joint Base Lewis McChord—as we do with other recovered military explosives and ordinance—where it will be properly accounted for and destroyed.

At first check, Seattle police say they collected 160 weapons, including three 12-gauge repeater shotguns. They handed out $80,000 worth of gift cards.

The Mayor's Office will announce final results of the gun buyback Monday morning.


Top Stories

  • Sordid Tale
    Tom Tangney found himself asking whether 'Foxcatcher' was worth it

  • Turnaround Underway
    The state's first charter school is on probation, but the director promises improvements
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

If you have a news tip or story idea, I'd love to hear from you...

To leave a voice message for Linda about any of her stories call toll free 1-855-251-2363

Follow Me on Pinterest

Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.