ST. LOUIS, MO — A 51-year-old pilot was arrested Wednesday morning at St. Louis Lambert International Airport after a handgun was found in his carry-on bag.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport says Terminal 2 Transportation Security Administration officers took the pilot into custody for unlawful use of a weapon. The TSA says they discovered a 9mm Smith and Wesson M&P Shield loaded with seven rounds of ammunition. It was discovered in his carry-on luggage at around 4:45 a.m.
TSA immediately alerted local law enforcement who took possession of the firearm and arrested the employee for unlawful use of a weapon. The pilot, identified as a First Officer, was detained just after 5:00 a.m., prior to him boarding the aircraft.
The pilot did not have a conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm. A statement from St. Louis Lambert International Airport says that charges are pending, and will be handled through St. Louis County. However, St. Louis County Police tell Fox 2 that they are not currently investigating the incident. Ed Magee with the St. Louis County Prosecutors Office has told Fox 2 that his office has not been contacted with any information from the arrest at the airport.
A TSA spokesperson, Mark Howell has told Fox 2 that local law enforcement, in this case is airport police. They will decide if and when the pilot will be charged.
The TSA also says that firearms may be transported in checked baggage, but they are prohibited in carry-on bags.
The pilot was going to take going to take Southwest flight 1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas. That flight continued to LAX. Passengers arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday morning and told TMZ they each received a $100 voucher.
This is the 46th firearm discovered at security checkpoints by TSA officers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in 2017. A total of 31 were found at checkpoints in 2016. More than 3,700 firearms have been discovered at checkpoints nationwide.