A police officer at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia was struck in the face when a pistol that he found in a passenger’s carry-on luggage discharged.
Security screeners discovered the .22 Magnum revolver as they x-rayed a carry-on bag taken through security by 43 year old Richard Popkin, of Georgia. Atlanta police officer NJ Phillips was notified and responded to the call to secure the firearm, which was loaded with five rounds of “snake shot,” ammunition loaded with small pellets used for killing snakes and other small animals.
As Phillips spoke with Popkin about how to clear the firearm, he unintentionally fired a shot from the revolver. Luckily, the firearm was pointed in the relatively safe direction of a screening table; however, Phillips reported that he was grazed by a pellet fragment on the left side of his face, which left no visible injuries.