Skip to main content /TRAVEL /TRAVEL

Atlanta airport supervisor fired for missing gun

Nancy Keller will return to court in two weeks for a probable cause hearing.
Nancy Keller will return to court in two weeks for a probable cause hearing.  

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A security supervisor at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport has been fired for missing a loaded gun after hand-checking a woman's bag, officials with the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

The supervisor hand-checked Nancy Keller's carry-on bag Sunday at the Atlanta airport but did not notice a .357-caliber handgun and an additional clip of ammunition, officials said.

Keller boarded US Airways Flight 1159 to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At Philadelphia International Airport, she stepped out of a secure area and went through security to catch a flight to Salisbury, Maryland. Security screeners discovered the gun and ammunition, and the woman was arrested.

Passenger released on handgun charges 
Criminal Complaint / Warrant for Arrest (U.S. v. Keller)  

The Transportation Security Administration said a Hartsfield screener noticed something strange on her screen when Keller put her bag through X-ray machines. The screener called over her supervisor, who has not been named. The supervisor sifted through the contents of Keller's bag but missed the gun and ammunition, the agency said.

The FBI has said it's possible Keller put the gun and ammunition in her bag in Philadelphia. But the Transportation Security Administration said it was the screener in Atlanta who missed the gun and ammunition. TSA officials could not say immediately which private security company the screener worked for. Hartsfield officials had no comment.

The FBI charged Keller, 37, of Huntersville, North Carolina, with trying to board an aircraft when she knew or should have known that she was carrying a concealed, dangerous weapon. Keller has said the gun belonged to her husband.

The gun and ammunition were inside a small, black nylon-mesh zipper bag packed with layers of clothes, according to an FBI affidavit.

The affidavit also said the clip of ammunition was labeled "restricted -- law enforcement, government use only." The clip was loaded with 12 rounds, the affidavit said.

Airport security: A system driven by the minimum wage
Warnings over airport security preceded attacks
Outside the U.S., a different approach to air security
Boosting security puts focus on government's role
 • Top 25 Airports

 • Airport Security by Year

 • Airline Security by Year

 • Airport Wages

Federal law bars civilians from possessing magazines manufactured since 1994 that can hold more than 10 rounds. It is legal to own magazines holding more than 10 rounds that were manufactured before 1994. However, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms believes the weapon was most likely manufactured after that time.

Mark Chait, assistant special agent in charge of the ATF's Philadelphia field division, said magazines holding more than 10 rounds began to be marked for law enforcement after the 1994 law was passed.

Keller has said the gun belonged to her husband. The ATF is investigating to determine the gun's ownership. Investigators also are looking into whether Keller's husband works in law enforcement. Law enforcement officials often use .357-caliber semiautomatics.

Keller appeared before a federal magistrate Monday in Philadelphia and will return to court in two weeks for a probable cause hearing.

She was released on a recognizance bond, but the judge said if she flees she will be liable for $100,000. The judge also told her that she is not allowed to own a gun or set foot in an airport before the court appearance.

The Transportation Security Administration was formed after September 11 to improve security at the nation's airports.




Back to the top