WARWICK, RI (CBS) – Gun parts discovered by TSA officers inside stuffed animals in a child’s carry-on luggage at Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport on Monday were a result of “a domestic dispute,” Rhode Island Airport Police told WBZ-TV.
Officers uncovered a disassembled .40 caliber hand gun and ammunition that had been “artfully concealed” inside of three stuffed animals.
According to TSA officials, the main frame of the gun was inside one stuffed animal, a magazine loaded with two .40 caliber rounds and a firing pin were found inside a second stuffed animal, and a slide release lever was wedged inside a third stuffed animal.
TSA Spokesperson Ann Davis says those components when pieced together, are enough to make up a functioning gun.
The 4-year-old child was traveling with his father.
After interviewing the father, authorities said they believed his story that he did not know the gun parts were there.
“It appears to be the result of a domestic dispute,” said Rhode Island Airport Police Chief Leo D. Messier.
A law enforcement source says police are investigating whether the man’s wife was involved.
Officers confiscated the weapon.
The man and his son were allowed to continue on their trip on board a Pinnacle Airlines flight to Detroit.
“It was determined that there was no threat at any time to air safety,” Chief Messier said.
This incident is currently being investigated by the RI Airport Police, FBI and the RI State Police.
None of the agencies were willing to comment on the nature of the domestic dispute or where the gun came from, because a criminal investigation was ongoing.