Crime

Airline passenger tried to bring loaded .45 pistol onto Charlotte plane, TSA says

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

A Charlotte man was arrested Wednesday in Charlotte for trying to bring a loaded gun onto a plane at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

He was stopped with a .45 caliber handgun just after 4 p.m. at Checkpoint A, according to Transportation Security Administration officials in Charlotte.

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Major Pierce IV WBTV

The Observer’s news partner WBTV identified the suspect as Major Pierce IV, 31. Mecklenburg County jail records show he listed his home as Newport News, Va. However, court records show Pierce has a Charlotte address and two pending trials on traffic-related offenses.

He is charged with possession of a firearm on city property.

TSA Transportation Security Officer Njeri Conner detected the firearm as his carry-on bag passed along the conveyor belt in the checkpoint X-ray machine, officials said. Conner immediately contacted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, which responded to the checkpoint.

Pierce was questioned and arrested on a local charge of carrying a weapon on airport property, officials said.

To date, TSA officers have found 36 firearms at Charlotte airport checkpoints this year. TSA found 54 firearms at the airport last year, officials said.

“There is a right way to travel with a firearm and a wrong way,” TSA officials said in a statement. “The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Then, the firearm must be taken to the airline check-in counter.

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