Air Force Col. Dave Cohen released few new details about Monday night's arrest at the base that houses the U.S. command center for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Cohen said it doesn't appear to have been a terrorism attempt. He did not release the serviceman's name, his military branch or the name of the woman who was with him. Both are in their mid-20s, Cohen said. The woman is not connected to the military.
Investigators were still trying to get to the bottom of the couple's motivation and intent, Cohen said.
"We've been talking to them since last night trying to get information, and we're still trying to put that puzzle together," he said.
The couple's Honda CRV contained three handguns, three rifles and some ammunition, Cohen said. He described them as "military style" but commercially available.
He said they tried to drive onto the base at about 5 p.m. at a remote gate and flashed phony military identification. A security officer working the gate became suspicious, and the couple cooperated when they were asked by officers to get out of the car.
When the weapons were found, a bomb disposal unit was called to examine the car, Cohen said. No explosives were found.
"At no point was the security of MacDill Air Force Base breached," he said. "The system worked exactly as it was supposed to."
Cohen said there was no indication yet that either the serviceman or his companion were connected to the Tampa base. Military and federal prosecutors are discussing charges, he said.
MacDill, situated on a peninsula south of downtown Tampa, is the home of U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also houses the U.S. Special Operations Command that coordinates the activities of elite units from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.Last month, an FBI agent who was at the base on unrelated business fatally shot a Vietnam veteran after an altercation. The veteran had been staying at the family campground on the base. Officials said he came at the agent with a knife before he was killed.