Austin TSOs find what they’re looking for

Thursday, March 25, 2021
AUS TSA officers photo

Everybody does it, you know! I’m talking about training. To be specific, on-the job training.

So when Texas’ Austin-Bergstorm International Airport (AUS) TSA Officers Jesus “Manny” Serafin and Michael Dominguez were doing a little on-the-job training on the X-ray machine with the new enhanced technology, the last thing they thought they would see was a firearm – a Glock 43 to be exact.

TSA officers photo
AUS TSA Officers Jesus “Manny” Serafin (left) and Michael Dominguez (Photo by Tommy Nguyen)

When he first saw the gun, Dominguez thought, “Wow, is training sending something because of the resolution and how clear the gun looked? I could see the bullets. The slicing with new technology was a big help, and from experience, I knew it was a gun.”

Serafin, who was conducting the training, said, “I was very confident in Dominguez’ capabilities on the X-ray. I am impressed with the new technology. It is super enhanced, and you can manipulate images, making it easier to spot threats.”

Serafin promptly notified his supervisor, who in turn called the Austin Coordination Center that an undeclared firearm was detected at the checkpoint. With a law enforcement officer already on-site, the investigation proceeded without any delays or impact to security. Although the passenger said he forgot the weapon was in his bag, he was arrested on a state prohibited weapons charge.

Gun catch photo
(Photo courtesy of TSA AUS)

“I was impressed how these two professionals gave each other credit, and their dedication to what they do every day — a high sense of duty — and humility in their achievement,” said AUS Stakeholder Relations Manager Ignacio “Nacho” Reyes.

“This is one snapshot of our AUS professionals, Manny and Mike, that along with our other 16 eagle eyes work tirelessly to keep our aviation travelers safe,” said AUS Federal Security Director Mike Scott. “It is truly an honor to serve with such a dedicated TSA workforce.”  

As of March 2021, AUS had found over a dozen firearms in a variety of configurations—lose ammo, magazines inserted, magazines fully not inserted, chambered. Nearly 40% of AUS gun catches have had a chambered round.