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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Pilot Detained After Authorities Find Loaded Gun in Bag

Aired January 21, 2003 - 13:15   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A Northwest Airlines pilot detained after authorities find a loaded gun in his bag.
CNN correspondent Mike Brooks with us, been working the story.

What more can you tell us, Mike?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, that Northwest pilot was actually arrested at a security checkpoint after he tried to go through security with a loaded 9 millimeter handgun in his luggage. The pilot, Robert Donaldson, 43 years old, from Michigan, was trying to go through a computer checkpoint at La Guardia when he was stopped by TSA officials.

He was arrested and is being charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree under the New York State penal code, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail. It as a felony. And in the third degree means it was a loaded handgun.

This pilot was apparently working, flight 1191, which was due to take off from La Guardia shortly after 5:45 this morning. The district attorney spokesman in the Queens DA office said he will be arraigned tonight for this charge of criminal possession of a firearm -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Have any of your sources told you if he brought this along for self-defense, or security reasons? Do we know?

BROOKS: It's not clear why he tried to bring a loaded handgun onto the plane. He was in uniform, and was working this particular flight. Why he had this particular handgun with him, who knows. As you know, there is legislation pending right now. There is a bill that was passed, and signed by the president that will enable pilots to carry handguns on planes for protection. But the Transportation Security Administration has yet to work out the particulars for this particular program, the training, the selection process, who will be able to carry the guns, which airlines will be participating in that particular program.

But this has nothing to do with that particular program. This is an incident where he was just trying to carry a gun onto an airplane and was arrested by security officials.

PHILLIPS: All right, our Mike Brooks, thank you so much.

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