Passenger’s gun goes off at airport security checkpoint

Passenger’s gun goes off at airport security checkpoint

By Marcus K. Garner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

11:57 a.m. Monday, December 12, 2011

A passenger’s gun went off Sunday morning in the security line at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, police say.
TSA officers found a loaded .22-caliber Magnum revolver in Richard Popkin’s carry-on bag during an X-ray scan, police said.
And while an Atlanta police officer responding to the scene tried to clear the five “snake” shot bullets – small game pellet ammunition – in the handgun, a shot went off, according to an Atlanta Police incident report obtained from Hartsfield officials.

No one was injured, but according to the responding officer’s account from the incident report, “I was grazed by a pellet fragment on the left side of my face. However, there were no visible injuries.”
Popkin, 43, is from Kathleen, south of Warner Robins, and was traveling to San Francisco. He told police he didn’t realize the pistol was in his messenger bag.

This is the 67th gun TSA agents have discovered this year at Hartsfield security checkpoints, TSA spokesman Jonathan Allen said.
In an e-mailed statement, Allen said that the federal agency is investigating the incident and can “level a civil penalty.”
Popkin was arrested and charged with carrying a weapon in an unauthorized place and is being held at the Clayton County jail pending bond.

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