3 found with mortar round at gate to Pearl Harbor base trigger security scare

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:44 PM HST
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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three people were taken into custody late Tuesday after they showed up at the gate of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with a live mortar round that they apparently found somewhere, a spokesperson said.

The three were released after being questioned.

A spokesperson said the device could fire but not explode, and is used for training.

It’s unclear how it ended up with the three in the car, who are all civilians.

The incident triggered an hours-long base lockdown and broader security concerns for a base still reeling from a shooting last month that left two civilians dead.

Officials said the incident happened around 10:30 p.m., when security forces responded to a vehicle at Nimitz Gate that did not have authorized access to the base.

When the gate guard asked the driver of the vehicle to turn around, the guard smelled marijuana and noticed what looked like ordnance in the car, officials said.

An explosive ordnance disposal team responded to the scene.

Base spokesman Chuck Anthony said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service took the three occupants in the car into custody for questioning. They were subsequently released.

Anthony added that hundreds of cars get turned around usually because drivers end up at the wrong gate, but security took further action after seeing the mortar round and smelling the marijuana.

Gates on the base were closed for approximately two hours, with no inbound or outbound traffic allowed. The O’Malley Gate opened for inbound and outbound traffic shortly after midnight.

The Nimitz Gate reopened to all traffic just before 4 a.m.

The incident comes just a little over a month after a Navy sailor opened fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, killing two civilian employees and injuring a third before shooting himself.

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