A Virginia man was arrested Friday when he tried to enter a restricted area near the U.S. Capitol with unauthorized credentials, a loaded handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to police.
Wesley Allen Beeler of Front Royal, Virginia, was stopped by U.S. Capitol Police at about 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to a police report. He had driven up a security checkpoint at the intersection of E Street and North Capitol Street, about a half-mile from the Capitol building.
The arrest came at a time of high alert in Washington as it prepares for Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Barriers have been erected, streets closed and thousands of police and National Guardsmen deployed after supporters of President Donald Trump overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, when lawmakers were meeting to officially recognize Biden’s win.
While one officer was checking Beeler’s credentials, another noticed that he had several “firearm related decals” on the rear windshield of his Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to a police affidavit filed in District of Columbia Superior Court on Saturday. One of the decals said “Assault Life” and had a picture of a rifle; a second decal said “If they come for your guns, Give ‘Em your bullets first.”
The officers asked Beeler, 31, if he was carrying any weapons, and he said he had a Glock pistol under the center armrest of his truck, according to the court documents. The police handcuffed Beeler and found the Glock 9 mm pistol — with a loaded 17-round high capacity magazine — that had a bullet loaded into its firing chamber and the safety off.
They also found 509 9-mm rounds of hollow point and ball ammunition, as well as 21 shotgun shells. The shotgun shells and the pistol were both described in the police affidavit as having been in plain sight.
Adgie O’Bryant Jr., a Washington-based attorney, was appointed to represent Beeler. A recording at O’Bryant’s office said he’s out of the office until May 21.
Efforts to reach Beeler were unsuccessful. However, his mother, Charlotte Beeler, said in a telephone interview with that her son carries a weapon for his job as a security officer, his occupation for many years. Ms. Beeler also said that she hadn’t been in contact with him since Friday, when he had been headed to work.
She also said that her son had recently risked his life to protect people while working as a guard.
Beeler was charged with possessing a hand gun that wasn’t registered in the District of Columbia, as well as having unregistered ammunition, according to the affidavit filed by police.
The court filing also said that the inauguration credentials that Beeler presented “were not authorized to enter the restricted area.” Capitol Police spokeswoman, Eva Malecki, said in an email that he presented a “non-government-issued credential.”
A D.C. Superior Court judge on Saturday released Beeler on personal recognizance and ordered him not to return to the city except to appear in court or meet with his lawyer, according to The Washington Post.
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