Man whose gun went off in Atlanta airport was ‘shocked’ to see the gun, attorney says

ATLANTA — The attorney for a man who allegedly fired a shot inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is making his case as to why the incident occurred. He says it was all an accident.

Attorney Ben Githieya says his client Kenny Wells is extremely remorseful for his actions.

Githieya says that Wells was on his way to a wedding and was shocked to see a gun inside his bag, so he panicked.

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“He’s extremely remorseful,” Githieya told Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln exclusively. “That is the main thing he’s echoed to me in every conversation that we’ve had.”

Last month, Wells’ gun discharged as he was going through a TSA checkpoint inside the airport.

TSA says that an agent noticed something in Wells’ bag as it passed through the scanner and went to check it. When he did, they say Wells lunged forward to grab the gun, it went off and Wells ran from the airport with the gun.

“And it was so loud when it went off, and I think many passengers possibly heard echoes, because I think there were reports of multiple shots, but there was only one accidental discharge,” the attorney said.

Atlanta police say the gun was later found in a nearby trash can.


Githieya says that prior to the incident, Wells was on probation for a non-violent offense out of Newton County in 2017.

“He had gotten a job, he was compliant with the conditions that were required of him and he was trying to get his life back on track,” Githieya said.

Numbers from TSA say that in the first nine months of 2021, 391 firearms were seized at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is 220 more than 2020.

“We know that this was an accident, we know that he did not intentionally come into the airport with a firearm. It was just a horrible, horrible, mistake,” Githieya told Lincoln.

When Lincoln asked Githieya why it took Wells over a week to turn himself in, Githieya said he was not trying to hide from police, he was getting his affairs in order.

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If Wells had not run from the airport, Githieya says that he would likely only face the two charges of possession of a firearm and carrying a loaded weapon at an airport instead of the four charges he does face which also includes reckless conduct and discharging a firearm.


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