Olympic Officials Find Rifle
Feb. 02, 2002
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Olympic security officials were investigating the discovery of a sniper rifle and ammunition reportedly found in the mountains near the Park City Olympic area.
The Utah Olympic Public Safety Command confirmed Saturday that the .50-caliber rifle was found, but said it was ``important to note the rifle was not near an Olympic venue.''
The Ogden Standard-Examiner reported the rifle was discovered five miles from the Olympic cross-country skiing venue at Soldier Hollow. A hunter found the weapon last Saturday, it said.
Tracy Hite, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, would not disclose where the rifle was found. Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt said he was told the weapon had no link to the Winter Olympics.
``It was rusted and did not appear to be operable,'' Leavitt said.
The type of weapon found is often used by military and police as a sniper rifle because of its power. It can hit a target a mile away.
The Standard-Examiner cited a report from the Wasatch County Sheriff's office that said the rifle was found in a green metal box marked ``explosives'' along with 386 rounds of ammunition.
A dispatcher with the sheriff's office said Saturday she had no information about the rifle.
Although security fears are high for the games, the only response by the combined federal-state-local security command for the Olympics was a three-sentence statement that the discovery was under investigation and that it did not happen near an Olympic venue. Hite, though, refused to define what ``near'' meant.