Gun Discharged During Security Check at Atlanta Airport

A police officer clearing a loaded gun of bullets accidentally discharged the weapon early Sunday morning at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta after finding the gun in a carry-on bag.

A TSA screener found the gun and reported it to officer N.J. Phillips. The gun’s owner, Richard Popkin, was showing Phillips how to clear the .22 magnum revolver when Phillips accidentally fired the weapon at the screening table.

“I was grazed by a pellet fragment on the left side of my face,” Phillips wrote in his report of the incident. “However, there were no visible injuries.”

Popkin said he didn’t realize the gun was still in his bag. He said originally, he was going to pack the bag the gun was in with his checked luggage, but took the bag out, fearing it would be too heavy and not pass the weight limit.

Popkin was arrested and charged with carrying a deadly weapon at a public gathering, according to the report.

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Published: December 12, 2011