Man arrested at Augusta airport for gun in bag

An Aiken man was arrested at Augusta Regional Airport after security personnel found an unloaded handgun in his carry-on bag Thursday morning.

Richmond County authorities responded to an alarm about 5:30 a.m. at a security checkpoint inside the airport. The gun was found as Richard Charles Whitaker, 59, went through the pre-boarding screening, according to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

A supervisor with the Transportation Security Administration searched the bag, finding a Bersa .38-caliber semi-automatic pistol with no rounds and an empty chamber.

Whitaker was escorted from the security checkpoint to the Marshal’s Office inside the airport terminal. He told authorities that the weapon was left in the bag more than a year ago and he forgot it was there.

Whitaker was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon at an airport facility and taken to the Richmond County jail.