A former soldier suspected of storing a tank-piercing rocket on the roof of his East Tacoma house was criminally charged Thursday, a day after discovery of the explosive prompted partial evacuation of the neighborhood, including an elementary school.
Tracy Worwood, 44, pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of an explosive device without a license and reckless endangerment. He was released on his own recognizance.
On a visit in late November, Worwood's underage son found the anti-tank projectile and took a photo of it, according to charging papers. When the boy's mother saw the picture, she reported the explosive to the FBI.
Tacoma police came to the man's home in the 5000 block of McKinley Avenue about noon Wednesday and found the explosive.
Officers closed McKinley Avenue from 46th to 56th streets and residents were asked to stay inside their homes. Nearby Sheridan Elementary School continued with classes but teachers locked the building's exterior doors.
Worwood, who received an "other than honorable" discharge from the Army, told investigators he thought the rocket was a training round.
"The defendant claimed he received the explosive device from someone as a going-away present," records show.
He allegedly moved it to the roof of his house after finding out his son knew it was in the house.
Army officials were brought out to X-ray the explosive, which had all its working components. It had been fired but never exploded, officials said.
Agents from the federal Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives removed the rocket and took it to the Tacoma Landfill, where it was safely detonated about 7:30 p.m.
When it was destroyed, it pierced a 5-inch steel plate, officials said.
"This confirmed that the explosive device was a high explosive which could have caused injury or death," prosecutors wrote in charging papers.
Worwood worked as a fire support specialist in the Army from 1995 to 2005 and ended his career at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, according to a base spokesman.