Man arrested in BWI gun incident

Parkville resident, 36, charged with multiple felonies, is being held on $3.5 million bail

October 04, 2006|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Sun reporter

Twelve days after a man left a loaded gun in a carry-on bag at a security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, delaying travel for thousands of passengers, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police arrested a Parkville man yesterday and charged him with multiple felonies.

DeJuan Laron Hunter, 36, is being held on $3.5 million bail at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and has a bail review scheduled for today.

Cpl. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the transportation authority police, said Hunter was arrested late yesterday morning at his Hunt Valley workplace and charged with attempting to carry a handgun onto an aircraft, interfering with security operations and other firearms violations. Green declined to identify the employer.

Passenger traffic through BWI's Southwest Airlines concourses was snarled for almost three hours Sept. 22, when police said a man attempted to pass through a security checkpoint with a Raven Arms MP25 semiautomatic handgun in his bag about 6:40 a.m.

Green said that when a Transportation Security Administration screener saw the weapon as the bag passed through an X-ray machine, the passenger left the checkpoint and entered the departure area.

When the screener could not immediately locate the passenger, police evacuated concourses A and B and required departing passengers to go through security again before they could board flights.

Green said Hunter was arrested after police found his fingerprints on personal items - not the handgun - in the carry-on bag.

The spokesman said police determined that the passenger did not board the airplane after going through the initial check-in. Green said the police subpoenaed Southwest's passenger records for the names of passengers who checked in but didn't fly that morning.

According to Green, the man made a statement in which he said he found the gun in Baltimore at a location he did not disclose.

Green said Hunter claimed to have forgotten the gun was in his bag when he left for the airport that morning to catch a flight to Florida. The spokesman said the man realized what screeners were talking about when his bag was being examined and "obviously he chose not to stick around."

Transportation Authority Police Chief Gary W. McLhinney said authorities thought from the beginning that the incident was not related to terrorism.

McLhinney said it's possible that Hunter made a mistake in bringing the weapon to the airport.

"It's plausible, but it still doesn't alleviate his responsibility," said McLhinney.

Harold Edwards, owner of Eden's Lounge in Mount Vernon, said Hunter is a regular customer of the trendy nightspot.

Edwards said the offenses Hunter is charged with would be totally out of character. He described Hunter as a "very professional" Morgan State graduate who wears a suit and tie every day.

"I can't believe it happened, actually," Edwards said.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

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