John Miller, who was traveling to the East Coast with his family, got caught Thursday by airport screeners with his loaded .38-caliber handgun in his computer bag, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Friday.
Authorities, who appeared convinced it was an honest mistake, told him he could retrieve his department-issued pistol when he got back to Los Angeles. He and his family continued on their trip after a brief delay.
"I'm confident that he did not try to smuggle a weapon on the plane, that he and his family did not plan to hijack a plane and fly off to Cuba or something," Chief William Bratton said Thursday.
"I talked to John when he was on the plane, and he was incredibly embarrassed for himself, for his family and for the department. Apparently, he was moving things around from one case to another when he was packing and he forgot the gun was there."