A Kearns man was in jail Friday after West Valley police discovered explosives, 1,500 rounds of ammunition and a murder manual in his car and rented room.
The man justified his personal arsenal - which included two crossbows, a loaded TEC-9 semiautomatic weapon, five partially completed grenades and several 30-round assault-rifle clips - by saying it was his constitutional right to carry such arms. He also feared the government was threatening his rights."He was really calm the entire time. I had the impression he wanted to show me everything he had," said West Valley officer Dan Moriarty.
Moriarty stopped James D. McCormick, 28, near 1900 W. 3500 South early Thursday after seeing a car swerve in traffic.
The driver was not drunk, as Moriarty first suspected, and his background check came back relatively clean. The officer was about to let the man go when he asked, almost as an afterthought, if there was anything in the car the police should know about.
The driver said, "Yeah, there are some guns" and reached for a duffle bag on the passenger-side floor.
At that point, Moriarty ordered the man from the car and during a pat-down felt a weapon. He discovered the loaded TEC-9 under the man's coat in a homemade quick-draw shoulder holster.
"When I felt that gun . . . I was extremely concerned," Moriarty said.
The officer found grenades and other evidence of explosives and drugs inside the car. A subsequent search of the man's rented bedroom in a Kearns house yielded more ammunition and explosives equipment.
Altogether, police recovered some 1,500 rounds of ammunition - including Black Talon .45-caliber "cop-killer" bullets and 16 boxes of police-issue 9mm ammunition - as well as a black hood, an original newspaper from the day John Lennon died, booby-trap wire, a sex magazine including a "How-To Murder Manual" and a single peppermint candy.
"This guy was going to war," said West Valley Police Sgt. Lance Call, who heads up the city's new Special Enforcement team. The new unit works as a trouble-shooter, targeting specialized crime like vice, gangs and drugs.
"We're finding drugs and guns as a daily occurrence," said Moriarty, who said he was more surprised to find the explosive materials.
"It's kind of odd for someone to possess all this stuff - it struck us as out of place," Moriarty said.
Most of the recovered items, including the unassembled grenades, are legal and available over-the-counter at any Army-Navy surplus store in the state, Call said.
It is illegal, however, to possess drugs or to carry a concealed, loaded weapon or an active explosive device.