QUEENS — A man fled John F. Kennedy International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officers found a loaded handgun in his bag.
The man was being screened at the TSA checkpoint when officers spotted a gun inside his bag on the x-ray machine’s monitor, TSA officials said.
When he was asked to step aside, the man fled, TSA said.
Police were alerted and determined the man ran out of the airport terminal and into a taxi, according to TSA.
TSA was able to identify the man because he left his carry-on bag, a duffel bag, his shoes, a vest, his New York State learner’s permit, his passport and boarding pass at the airport, authorities said.
Police confiscated the man’s carry-on bag with the 9mm handgun loaded with seven bullets.
The man, a Brooklyn resident, was expected to fly to Atlanta with several companions, TSA said. Officials interviewed the man’s traveling companions before their flight.
“Fleeing the checkpoint does this man no good,” said John Bambury, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.
“It was foolish of him to run. We know who he is and he now faces a stiff financial federal civil penalty.”
A typical offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a TSA checkpoint is $4,100, but the penalty could go as high as $13,000 depending on the circumstances.
Last year, about 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, TSA said.
About 87% of detected firearms were loaded, authorities said.