An armed man was spotted at Asheville, North Carolina airport parking lot just after Air Force One departed Sunday. When confronted by a police officer he wanted to see the president.
Joseph Sean McVey, 23, of Coshocton, Ohio, is charged with "going armed in terror of the public", a misdemeanor, said Asheville Regional Airport Police Capt. Kevan Smith.
Security was heightened at the airport because President Barack Obama was leaving after spending the weekend vacationing in Asheville. He was headed to a memorial service for 29 West Virginia coal miners killed in an explosion.
At about 2 p.m., airport police saw McVey get out of a maroon car with Ohio plates and that he had a sidearm, a Springfield XD 40 handgun. Both airport police and the Secret Service questioned him and he was taken into custody.
The suspect was nowhere near the president's plane, which had just departed, and was in a rental car return lot that is open to the public.
His car was equipped with clear LED law enforcement-style strobe lights in the front and rear dash, Smith said. The car also had a mounted digital camera in the front window, four large antennas on the trunk lid, and under the steering wheel was a working siren box. Smith said McVey was not in law enforcement.
When McVey got out of the car, he was listening to a handheld scanner and radio that had a remote earpiece, Smith said. Police said he was monitoring local agencies and had formulas for rifle scopes on a note in his cup holder.
McVey gave authorities an Ohio driver's license, but a computer check failed to show the number was valid, police said.
When Officer Kaleb Rice asked him what he was doing, McVey told him he heard the president was in town and wanted to see him.
Max Henkel, a resident who was at the airport to see Obama's departure, told the newspaper,
They searched him and it looked like he had an empty pistol holster on his side, and I think I heard one of the officers say he had had a gun. When I realized what was going on, I was flabbergasted.Investigators have yet to determine whether he was attempting to target the President.
Yes! there must have been many other possibilities which would occur to a reasonable person as to McVey's intended business with the President.