Delta ramp worker accused of bringing gun to work

A screener in the employee parking lot near the airport detected the gun, according to officials.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — A Delta employee has been suspended and arrested after police say he tried to walk through security with a gun Tuesday.

The ramp worker was going through screening at the employee parking lot near the Atlanta airport when officials say the screener detected the 9mm handgun inside his bag.

Police say the worker grabbed the bag, went to his car and drove off. He then came back to work without the gun and was questioned by authorities.

Meanwhile, Atlanta police and the FBI recovered what it is believed to be the same gun at a residence, not belonging to the employee, in less than an hour.

Major Lance Patterson says the employee says he forgot a gun was in his bag.

“You should know where your weapon is at all times,” said investigator M.C. Cox with the Clayton County Solicitor General’s Office. Cox says he prosecutes dozens of misdemeanor gun cases from the airport each year.

A source tells Channel 2 Action News the Delta employee screening checkpoint where the gun was spotted was set up in response to the Delta gun smuggling case that broke in 2014. That case, where a then Delta ramp worker and former ramp worker allegedly conspired to smuggle guns on Delta flights from Atlanta to New York, is still pending.

The screening takes place in the lot where Delta employees park before boarding buses for the airport, many of them for jobs in secure areas.

Delta sent a statement about the incident, saying: “The employee involved in this episode has been suspended pending final outcome of the investigation. Safety and security is always Delta’s top priority and we will continue to work closely with TSA, law enforcement and other stakeholders to that end.”

The case is now in the hands of College Park police because the parking lot is in their jurisdiction.

Patterson says the employee will face three misdemeanor weapons charges.