Some travelers sleepily making their way through airport security in Atlanta Sunday morning got a startling wake-up. A gun detected in a carry-on at a checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was accidentally fired by an investigating officer around 9 a.m. Sunday, according to a police report.
Transportation Security Administration screeners reported the gun to Atlanta police officer N.J. Phillips, the officer wrote in an Atlanta Police Department report. The gun’s owner was telling Phillips how to clear the loaded .22 Magnum revolver when it was accidentally discharged, Phillips reported. “The weapon was pointed down towards the screening table.”
The gun’s owner, Richard Popkin of Kathleen, Georgia, told Phillips he didn’t realize the gun was still in his bag, according to the police report. Popkin said he originally intended to pack the bag in his checked luggage, but he removed it because he was concerned about the weight limit for his checked bag, according to the report.
Popkin was arrested and charged with carrying a deadly weapon at a public gathering, according to the police report. TSA officers have discovered more than 1,100 firearms at checkpoints this year, the agency said. Firearms are not allowed in carry-on bags or at security checkpoints.