Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A Southwest Airlines first officer was arrested in St. Louis Wednesday after security agents found a loaded gun in his carry-on bag, airport officials said.
The 51-year-old pilot, who was not immediately identified, was scheduled to fly to Las Vegas early Wednesday out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
It wasn't clear if he was flying as a passenger or as a pilot, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Officials said Transportation Security Administration officers in Terminal 2 discovered a loaded 9 mm pistol in his carry-on bag around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday. The handgun was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, TSA spokesman Mark Howell said.
St. Louis police confiscated the gun and arrested the pilot on suspicion of unlawful use o a firearm, Howell said. Prosecutors must now decide whether to file charges. An airport spokesman said the pilot did not have the authorization to carry a firearm.
"We are aware of a situation involving a Southwest pilot at St. Louis Airport," the carrier said in a statement. "We are currently working alongside the appropriate authorities to gather more information."
Howell said 46 firearms have been discovered so far this year at St. Louis' airport -- up from 31 last year.
TSA regulations say passengers must declare firearms and stow them unloaded in checked luggage. Ammunition is required to be packed separately.