Police: Metro pastor caught with loaded gun at airport

Popular church pastor arrested

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta pastor accused of trying to board a flight with a weapon could face civil penalties as well as jail time.

William Henry Murphy III is pastor of the Dream Center Church of Atlanta.

Murphy had a 9mm Taurus handgun loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition in his carry-on bag as he placed it in the X-ray machine at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, according to Atlanta police.

Channel 2's Tom Jones watched as Murphy appeared in Clayton County court on unauthorized possession of a weapon charges.

Murphy is a well-known pastor and gospel artist who just days ago was elevated to the office of bishop.

He's the 47th person this year accused of carrying a weapon through a security checkpoint. 

Jones tried to get Murphy's side of the story but his wife, Danielle, had no comment.

Murphy does have a license to carry a firearm but he would have to check his weapon before going through security if he wanted to take it with him during his flight.

In addition to a $2,500 bond he could face civil penalties up to $7,500.

Passengers at the airport told Jones they wondered what he was thinking.

"I think anybody who attempts to bring a gun on a plane after 9-11 is not OK," one traveler said.

Some travelers don't buy the excuse that someone would forget a weapon in their bag.

"I don't see how you would forget that you had that type of weapon in your luggage," a man told Jones.

Others had a different reaction.

"I guess if it's locked up and he's licensed to do it, I guess it's OK," another traveler said.