Explosive device puts neighborhood on lockdown

HARLINGEN — Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Blake Morris was adamant. He told police he was not leaving his home even though a suspicious object that looked like a grenade was found nearby.

Police were evacuating parts of the neighborhood Monday along the 6000 block of Masters Boulevard around 7:30 p.m. just north of Stuart Place Country Club. That came after a resident notified police he had found a grenade while cleaning out an old truck he had recently inherited.

Morris, 74, who lives nearby, said he knew a thing or two about explosives since he worked on the USS Patrick Henry, a nuclear submarine, while in the Navy.

“I told them, don’t worry about us,” Morris said. “If it’s an old hand grenade it’s going to do damage 50 meters at the most.”

Morris was not too worried since the truck with the grenade was more than 50 yards away and in the backyard of the home where it was found.

“The police did a most excellent job. I was impressed with them very much,” Morris said at his home yesterday. “You try to prevent everything and the only way to do that is get the people out of here.”

Morris said he kept waiting for a boom in case the police or the bomb squad had to ignite it.

“We were evacuating anybody in the area that it could pose immediate danger to,” police Sgt. John Parrish said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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