ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis Lambert International Airport police arrested a pilot Wednesday morning after TSA officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage, the airport confirms.
According to a statement sent to KMOX by Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea, the 51-year-old pilot is a first officer for Southwest Airlines. He was arrested early Wednesday in the Terminal 2 checkpoint prior to him boarding the plane, No. 1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas.
“The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm,” the statement says.
Charges are pending, and will be handled by St. Louis County officials.
Here is the airport’s full statement:
“St. Louis Lambert International Airport police arrested a 51 year old airline pilot Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage. The pilot is a First Officer who works for Southwest Airlines, was detained shortly before 5 a.m. in the Terminal 2 checkpoint prior to him boarding his aircraft, Southwest flight, #1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas.
“The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm. Charges are pending and will be handled through St. Louis County.”
Southwest tells KMOX it is aware of one Southwest Airlines pilot who was arrested at Lambert airport Wednesday.
The full statement reads: “We are aware of a situation involving a Southwest Pilot at St. Louis Airport. We are currently working alongside the appropriate authorities to gather more information. We have no further information to share at this time.”
Eyewitnesses told TMZ that two pilots were caught with firearms in their carry-on bags and were apprehended by two officers while going through a TSA security checkpoint.
The flight was bound for Los Angeles and passengers were deplaned. The passengers were told they would receive a $100 voucher for the inconvenience.
This story was first reported by TMZ, saying the officer told pilots, “We don’t mess around here.”