TSA stops worker at Pittsburgh Airport caught with loaded handgun

Man arrested on weapons charges
Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
TSA officers prevented a worker at Pittsburgh International Airport from carrying this loaded handgun into the sterile area of the airport. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH – An individual who works at Pittsburgh International Airport was stopped with a loaded handgun when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected the gun in the man’s backpack when he reported to work on Sunday, May 30.

The man, a resident of nearby Wellsville, Ohio, was caught with a 9 mm handgun loaded with 12 bullets, including one in the chamber. The man, an airplane cabin cleaner, had access to the secure area of the airport to perform his job duties. However, TSA conducts regular checks on individuals who work in the sterile area of the airport to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items that they might use or might hand off to someone else for their use.

“Insider threats are something that we are highly aware of and are constantly on the lookout for,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Insiders, or individuals with authorized access to sensitive areas of an airport, might misuse or allow others to misuse their access to exploit vulnerabilities in an effort to compromise security, facilitate criminal activity, terrorism or other illicit actions that could inflict harm to people, organizations, the transportation system or national security. This was an excellent catch on the part of our TSA team.”

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the worker’s backpack, the Allegheny County Police were alerted, confiscated the handgun and arrested the man on a weapons charge.  

TSA issued a roadmap for mitigating insider threats to transportation environments in May 2020. The document serves as a framework to thwart insider threats in the transportation sector. It also aims to identify requirements and capabilities and leverage partnerships to proactively mitigate risks associated with insider threats.