A Southwest Airlines pilot was arrested Wednesday morning at St. Louis Lambert International Airport after Transportation Security Administration agents found a 9mm handgun in his carry-on luggage.
Fox 2 in St. Louis reported the 51-year-old pilot, a First Officer, was detained at the airport around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon. The pilot reportedly did not have a concealed carry permit or any other license authorizing him to carry the handgun in his carry-on bag.
The pilot was scheduled to take Southwest flight 1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas. The flight continued on to Los Angeles, where the arriving passengers were each given $100 vouchers, TMZ reported.
Two eyewitnesses at the airport told TMZ that they had seen a pair of pilots being handcuffed at a security checkpoint, but airport officials said that only one pilot had been arrested.
“St. Louis Lambert International Airport Police arrested a 51-year-old airline pilot Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon after TSA officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage,” the airport said in a statement.
In a statement issued to news outlets, Southwest said that it was cooperating with the authorities on the investigation but did not share any further information.
According to TSA guidelines, unloaded firearms may be transported but as checked baggage only. All firearms and ammunition must be stored in locked containers and must be declared when checking bags with the airline.