Police who were responding to a report of a suicidal man Wednesday discovered a cache of weapons which included firearms, grenades and ammunition inside the man's home.
The 72-year-old man, who was not identified, was reported to police by his son who feared for his father's wellbeing and told officers that there were firearms inside the home, Lieutenant Dennis Rosenbaum of the Philadelphia Police Department said Thursday.
Officers discovered what appeared to be a grenade after the man's son asked police to remove his father's weapons from the home, Rosenbaum said. Bomb squad experts who were called to the scene found that the grenade was inactive.
Further investigation of the home revealed a massive stockpile of firearms, an inactive pipe bomb and other grenades, including at least one active military-grade smoke grenade. Some of the weapons appeared to be memorabilia from the World Wars.
Police in all collected 19 handguns and 20 long guns, which can be anything from a hunting rifle to an M-16 military type rifle, according to Rosenbaum. Authorities believe the man had more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition in the home but are still counting for an official number.
Nearly all of the weapons were loaded.
"There was components to make more rifles. That's what we thought there was a little bit more than what there was," Rosenbaum said. "But once we took them out and counted them there was 39 working weapons and then several components and parts of other weapons were also collected."
The man's family members told police that he was an avid collector who had an interest in hunting and guns from a young age. Investigators are still looking into whether any of the guns were illegally modified and verifying ownership, but the 72 year old is not currently facing charges.
However, the man has been hospitalized and his family did not believe him to be a threat to anyone but himself.
His family has the right to petition for the weapons, which have been put into storage. If not, or if the police deem the weapons unsafe, they will be destroyed and melted down after a certain period of time.
"I don't think they're going to be trying to get the weapons back," Rosenbaum said. "I've talked to the family today as of an hour ago and they just don't want them to wind up in the wrong hands. They seem to be very nice people."
Pennsylvania law does not restrict a resident from owning hundreds of firearms, though it is unusual, according to Rosenbaum.
"As of right now we don't have any crimes committed but the investigation will take some time," he said. "As we go through we can make decisions as the information comes back."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources