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Tag: Guns

Record Number of Firearms Discovered at Airport Checkpoints in 2021

By Steve Neavling

The TSA seized nearly 6,000 guns at airport checkpoints nationwide in 2021, a record amount for a single year and a 35% increase over the previous year. 

The TSA said 86% of the 5,972 guns were loaded. 

The most firearms – 507 – were seized at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The second most – 317 – were discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport came in third, with 245 firearms. 

Rounding out the top 10 were:

4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 196

5. Nashville International airpot, 163

6. Denver International Airpot, 141

7. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 128

8. Orlando International Airport, 124

9. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, 119

10. Salt Lake City International Airport, 115

The number of firearms discovered at checkpoints has been increasing nearly every year since 2008: 

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including a Meth Burrito

By Steve Neavling

From a gun-shaped wine holder to methamphetamine stuffed in a burrito, TSA officers found some unusual items in 2021. 

TSA released its “Top 10 Catches of 2021,” which lists its most bizarre findings by airport security workers.

The list is revealed in a video, which counts down to the No. 1 strangest item, and each is accompanied by a clever quip. 

The idea is to remind passengers of the kinds of items they’re not allowed to take on a plane. 

Here’s the list: 

1. Chainsaw, found at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

2. A revolver-shaped wine bottle holder, found at Sacramento International Airport.

3. Fireworks, found at Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

4. A “heavy-duty” machete, found at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

5. Bear spray, found at Destin-Fort-Walton Beach Airport.

6. A “well-worn” cleaver, found at Harrisburg International Airport.

7. A firearm-shaped belt buckle, found at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

8. Meth hidden in a breakfast burrito, found at William P. Hobby Airport.

9. An antique revolver, found at Newark Liberty International Airport.

10. Bullets in a stick of deodorant, found at Atlantic City International Airport.

The 2020 list included firearms, a grenade, and a jar with a dead baby shark. 

Washington Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Shooting at ATF Agents

By Steve Neavling

A Washington man who fired a shotgun at four ATF agents has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Patrick Elliott Pearson, 49, of Moses Lake, was convicted by a jury of assaulting the agents, engaging in a drug conspiracy, discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Pearson was accused of running a meth and heroin ring in greater Grant County and Yakima areas from 2015 to 2019. 

When ATF agents, Grant County detectives and local police officers descended on Pearson’s compound on the morning of July 16, 2019 to serve search and arrest warrants, Pearson, from inside his trailer, repeatedly shot at agents from the ATF’s Special Response Team. 

Unable to see if anyone else was inside the trailer, ATF agents didn’t fire back. 

Pearson tried to take his own life by turning the shotgun on himself and was life-flighted to Spokane for medical treatment. 

“No one can be allowed to shoot at law enforcement. Numerous brave ATF agents went to Mr. Pearson’s trailer that morning to do their jobs by executing a lawful court order and serving a valid arrest warrant,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref said in a statement. “Thanks to Mr. Pearson’s poor aim, this community has not had to endure the potential tragedy of fallen ATF officers. Today’s sentence sends a clear warning to anyone who thinks they can shoot their way out of an arrest and get away with it – they cannot. If they try, the United States Attorney’s Office will work with its federal, state, and local partners to investigate and prosecute them to the fullest extent provided by law. When Mr. Pearson saw on his video screens that ATF was present with a warrant, he simply had to surrender to avoid the most serious charges in this case. Instead, with reckless disregard for human life, he tried to hurt or kill a number of agents.”

Jonathan T. McPherson, special agent in charge of the ATF Seattle Field Division, added, “The actions of the ATF Special Agents and officers from our partner agencies that day are truly commendable. They acted with high regard not only for the safety of the surrounding community, but also for Mr. Pearson, despite the fact that he was shooting at our Special Response Team. We are thankful none of our Special Agents were injured and that Mr. Pearson will serve a significant sentence.”

TSA Reports Record-Breaking Number of guns Confiscated at Airports

By Steve Neavling

The TSA confiscated a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints in 2021, the agency said Monday. 

The agency confiscated 5,700 firearms, surpassing the previous record of 4,400 in 2019, CBS News reports. About 85% of the guns were loaded with ammunition. 

The rate of gun detections in carry-on luggage doubled from the previous high. 

TSA Administrator David Pekoske attributes the record confiscations to more Americans carrying firearms. 

“The reason? I think there’s just more firearm carriage in the country,” Pekoske said. “That’s the best answer I can give you.”

Here are the top 10 airports with firearm confiscations:

  1. Atlanta 
  2. Dallas Fort Worth 
  3. Houston (IAH) 
  4. Phoenix 
  5. Nashville 
  6. Denver 
  7. Fort Lauderdale 
  8. Orlando 
  9. New Orleans 
  10. Salt Lake City 

FBI: Dayton Mass Shooter Motivated by ‘Enduring Fascination with Mass Violence’

Mass shooter Connor Betts. Photo: Facebook

By Steve Neavling

A gunman who opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio and killed nine people and wounded 27 others in August 2019 had an “enduring fascination with mass violence,” according to the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. 

Connor Betts also likely had mental health issues, the report, which was released Monday, concludes, ABC News reports.  

The FBI found that Betts acted alone and was not acting on behalf of an idealogical group. 

“The FBI’s BAU assessed the attacker’s enduring fascination with mass violence and his inability to cope with a convergence of personal factors, to include a decade-long struggle with multiple mental health stressors and the successive loss of significant stabilizing anchors experienced prior to August 4, 2019, likely were the primary contributors to the timing and finality of his decision to commit a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio,” the report states.

The shooting came one day after another gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. 

Although Betts had “suicidal and violent fantasies,” there were no specific signs that he was dangerous to others, the report states that 

“This underscores the importance of bystanders’ attentiveness to more subtle changes an individual may exhibit that could be indicative of their decision to commit violence, such as a change in personal circumstances, an increase in perceived stressors, or language indicating they may be contemplating suicide,” the FBI said.

J. Edgar Hover Ordered Bureau to Hide That Witnesses to Malcolm X’s Assassination Were FBI Informants

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at his desk. Photo: FBI

By Steve Neavling

FBI informants witnessed Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination and were told not to reveal their work with the bureau when talking with police and prosecutors, according to a prosecutor. 

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance made the disclosure on Thursday when asking a judge to throw out the convictions of two of the three men convicted in the civil rights murder, The New York Times reports.

“We now have reports revealing that on orders from director J. Edgar Hoover himself, the F.B.I. ordered multiple witnesses not to tell police or prosecutors that they were in fact F.B.I. informants,” Vance said in court.

Based on the prosecutor’s motion to vacate the convictions, Judge Ellen Biben exonerated Muhammad A. Aziz, 83, and Khalil Islam, who died in 2009. Thomas Hagan, who also was convicted in the murder, confessed to the killing during his trial but was adamant that the two other men were not involved. His conviction stands. 

The only men who said they witnessed Aziz and Islam participate in the killing were FBI informants, Vance said. The bureau never revealed that information to the defense.  

A nearly two-year investigation by prosecutors and the Innocence Project found that FBI documents also showed that a description of the assassins did not match Aziz or Islam.

“In short, it is unknown whether the identification procedures used in this case were properly conducted,” the motion to vacate stated, ABC News reports.

In a letter to the bureau’s office in New York one year before the assassination, Hoover asked agents to “do something about Malcolm X,” according to previously disclosed documents. 

Two Men Indicted in Shooting of ATF Agent in Spokane

By Steve Neavling

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted two men for their alleged involvement in the shooting of an ATF agent at a Spokane motel earlier this month.

The agent was briefly hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery following the Nov. 6 shooting in a parking lot of a Motel 6. 

Randy Holmes, 24, was charged with three counts, including assaulting an ATF agent with a deadly weapon, The Spokesman-Review reports. He’s accused of exchanging gunfire with the agent. Because of a previous felony conviction, he was not permitted to possess a firearm, prosecutors said. 

Holmes faces up to 30 years in prison, if convicted. 

Vincent Petrushkin, 35, is accused of fleeing the scene with Holmes. He was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Both men are in the Spokane County Jail. 

The shooting occurred while the ATF was conducting an undercover investigation. 

FBI Arrests Suspected Serial Killer Accused of Fatally Shooting 6 People

Perez Reed, 25. Photo: St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office

By Steve Neavling

The FBI on Monday arrested a suspected serial killer who may have killed six people and wounded two others in Missouri and Kansas. 

Agents arrested Perez Reed, 25, at a bus station on Friday, The Kansas City Star reports.

According to a special agent’s affidavit, Reed was wanted for shootings that began Sept. 12 in St. Louis County. A .40 caliber Smith & Wesson was used in each shooting, and shell casings matched the same gun. 

During his arrest, Reed was in possession of that handgun, according to the affidavit.  

On Monday, Reed was charged with the murders of two people, and additional charges are pending. 

U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming said more than half a dozen of law enforcement agencies were involved in a “relentless investigation of these hideous and violent crimes.”