Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Driver with guns and ammunition arrested at LAX

‘VERY BAD DECISION’ A 47-year-old man was caught with 10 handguns, five rifles and an antique black-powder musket in the back of his vehicle


A motorist with more than a dozen guns — two of them loaded — and nearly 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his pickup truck was arrested at a vehicle checkpoint as he entered Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), authorities said.

Phillip Dominguez of Orange was booked on suspicion of felony transportation of an assault rifle, but airport police said on Friday it appears he did not intend any harm and was there to pick up someone.

“He just made a very bad decision and should not have been carrying those weapons,” airport police Sergeant Jim Holcomb said.

The weapons — which included 10 handguns, five rifles and an antique black-powder musket — were in containers in the back of the 47-year-old man’s truck, which was stopped by airport police officers at a major entrance to the passenger terminals area, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.

Two of the weapons, a revolver and the musket, were loaded, Holcomb said.

Dominguez’s wife, Sue Dominguez, said her husband planned to go target shooting at an outdoor range with a friend whom he was picking up at the airport. She said she found out about his arrest from a TV news report and they later spoke on the phone.

She described him as a law-abiding citizen who treats his weapons with care.

“The guns are always double-locked. He has all the paperwork and everything. He’s a fanatic about making it all legal,” she said.

“He didn’t lie to the police and he said they were polite and respectful to him,” she said.

Police initially reported that 37 weapons were found in the truck. Castles said that count was an estimate based on the number of containers in the truck, which did not all contain weapons.

Airport police routinely set up vehicle checkpoints at roads leading into the airport’s central roads.

The FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Los Angeles Police Department were investigating whether the weapons were properly registered.

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