What Happens When “Around 10:30 a.m. a citizen transported a hand grenade they had in their possession to the 4th District Police station for disposal”

by Prince Of Petworth December 7, 2015 at 11:10 am 22 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Newman

From MPD on Sunday:

“Around 10:30 a.m. a citizen transported a hand grenade they had in their possession to the 4th District Police station for disposal. The follow roads are closed pending it’s safe recovery:

5900-6000 blocks of Georgia Avenue NW
900-1000 blocks of Peabody Street NW

The businesses and residences have been evacuated as well to include:

4D Police Station”

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Brightwood neighbors – today, a resident arrived at 4D Police Station on Georgia Avenue NW to turn in a grenade they found. As a precaution, Georgia Avenue was closed. MPD has been in touch with federal partners who will take possession of the device. Please stay clear of the area this afternoon and follow instructions of public safety officials if you are in the area. At this time, no injuries are reported. We will post an update as more information is available.

Mayor Bowser”

MPD later wrote:

“At this time the suspicious package in the 900 block of Peabody Street, NW has been declared safe and all closures have been reopened.”


“According to the reporting person, her deceased husband had been in possession of the hand grenade for many years. It had been given to him by his grandfather.”

Remember when those old grenades were found during a Columbia Heights row house renovation?

  • h

    Anybody see this one? (I thought it might be posted here.)


    Disturbing, particularly considering the location.

    • jumpingjack

      Scary, that’s a mighty fancy (and quiet) neighborhood for a robbery like that.

  • shaw

    While turning a grenade in to the police station does seem like an iffy idea, I’m having trouble thinking of a better option. Somehow, just scattering a couple “grenade drop off bins” around downtown seems poorly thought out… And I don’t think leaving it in your curbside recycling bin is a good plan either… So, yeah, I guess you just take it to the police station!

    • anon

      Maybe call the police first. Or ATF? Doesn’t common sense tell you walking into a police station with an explosive device is likely to lead to evacuations?

      • K

        I think any scenario would have ended with an evacuation. It’s probably SOP to evacuate the area when an unexloded ordnance is found. If she stayed at home and called ATF or MPD we’d just see the evacuation of her neighborhood instead of MPD. At least at the police station they have the capacity to deal with it. Her neighbors probably do not.

        • GBinCH

          Her neighbors would have had to have been evacuated out of their houses temporarily, but that’s about it. She should have called the police to come deal with the grenade. You never want to transport and explosive – what if it goes off while being moved? A grenade is fairly stable, but other types of explosive (e.g. TNT) get more volatile as they age and simply moving them can set them off. Still, she did the right thing by turning the grenade in for disposal.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I don’t think “common sense” is even conceptually applicable to things that the vast majority of citizens have never had any reason to think about or plan for or even consider as a possibility.

        • textdoc


        • anon

          Common sense is exactly what is “conceptually applicable” to situations you aren’t accustomed to dealing with. You don’t know anything about grenades? You use a little common sense to assess the situation and make a decision based on the facts you do know.
          Common sense would tell me that if I’m dealing with something I know nothing about (i.e. a grenade), other than it might explode, I should call the police rather than pick it up, put it in my car, drive through traffic while hitting bumps and potholes, and then ask the cop the same thing you could have asked over the phone. I didn’t need a whole lot of experience with grenades to come up with that.

          • K

            “According to the reporting person, her deceased husband had been in possession of the hand grenade for many years. It had been given to him by his grandfather.”

            You realize you’re being awful judgy of a little old lady right?

  • Lisa

    this happens all the time at the Washington Navy Yard. A guy finds hand grenade in his yard, attic, basement and then decides to drop it off at the Navy Yard making the assumption that the guard at the gate or visitor’s center knows what to do with it….

    • b

      really? I’ve worked there for five years and have never heard of that happening. finding some sort of ammunition or inert explosive in an old filing cabinet somewhere on base, yes.

      • Lisa

        Yes, there’s some general email that went out once a week (or something like that) that would list in all caps some of the poor decisions or shenanigans that had taken place recently. I unsubscribed from the list as the entire email was in all caps and highly annoying to read.
        Shenanigans included sometimes gory details of any car accidents, propane grill mishaps even sprained ankles. And, of course, ordinance and grenades being dropped at the gates.
        The email always included the number of days or hours of work missed by any sailors if any were involved.

      • Lisa

        FWIW, I grew up in NW DC and my parents bought their house in 1970 and it came complete with a grenade in the attic. I’ll have to ask my mom to refresh my memory on what they did with it…

  • Grant Circle

    Seems like a bit much for a grenade.

    • textdoc

      Agreed — I didn’t think hand grenades were all that powerful, so I was surprised to read that the Walmart and McDonald’s were evacuated. But maybe I was wrong.

      • Anon Spock

        Kill radius is 5meters, injury is 15. Not sure on the distance from the station to those places, but it can do a decent amount of damage over a large area.

  • DRC

    I’m guessing the grenade in question was completely inert and probably a show piece or training round. The military is big on proper marking for this very reason. I currently have 4 hand grenades complete with fuzes sitting on my desk, all marked IAW MIL-STD-706, but I’m sure if I walked into a police station with one, everyone would freak the F out.
    I’ll agree with the ‘overreaction’ comments. Grenades are like guns. Guns don’t just go off for no reason, and hand grenades don’t just randomly blow up. If the safety pin is intact and there is no visible damage to the grenade, it is safe to handle.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I suspect that you know a lot more than most people about grenades, given that you admittedly have several of them in your possession. I’m not sure how to even begin to assess what is an appropriate reaction vs. an over-reaction on the part of public officials when they encounter something that they have little to no knowledge of other than that it appears to share some common attributes with the general class of things that they have seen used to blow stuff up in movies. From the perspective of the police, they differ from guns in one very important way: police officers have their own guns and are trained in how to use them as a part of their regular job; most of them do not have their own grenades and none that I know of are trained to use them as a part of their regular job.

      • Anon Spock

        I’d argue many police have experience given the sheer number of current and former military in their ranks. Definitely an overreaction, but better safe than sorry.

        • HaileUnlikely

          There likely was at least one officer on the premises, probably more, who had handled a grenade before. Nonetheless, I’d hope that they would have established protocols for dealing with explosives that they encounter unexpectedly, and that they are less ad hoc than asking aroundbyhe station if any of the officers present has ever seen a grenade before and if so, how dangerous they think it is.

          • Anon Spock

            Hence my better safe than sorry.


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