Police find gun belonging to suspect in accidental discharge at airport

Kenny Wells spent two years in prison on a previous gun charge. He was released in October 2017.
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Kenny Wells spent two years in prison on a previous gun charge. He was released in October 2017.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Suspect remains at large, has spent time in prison on gun charges

Authorities found the gun belonging to a man suspected of accidentally firing the weapon at the Atlanta airport Saturday, sending travelers into a panic and temporarily shutting down one of the world’s busiest transit centers.

Kenny Wells, 42, remains at large and is being sought by Atlanta police and other agencies on charges that he carried a concealed weapon into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.

Wells’ firearm was found Tuesday in a trashcan at the airport, Atlanta police said.

ExplorePolice ID passenger being sought after discharging gun at airport

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Wells was convicted for possessing a gun as a felon in 2015 and spent two years in prison. He was released in October 2017. Among his other charges were impersonating a police officer, impersonation and multiple traffic offenses.

Wells was also convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon in 1997, according to DOC records. He was sent to prison for three months in 2000. That followed an earlier felony conviction on two counts of theft by taking.

ExploreAtlanta airport security in spotlight after gun discharge

Saturday’s airport incident took place around 1:30 p.m. at a security checkpoint, the AJC reported. The Transportation Security Administration said in a statement that after an X-ray detected a prohibited item, a TSA officer began searching a bag and advised the passenger, later identified as Wells, not to touch it. The passenger lunged into the bag and grabbed a firearm, “at which point it discharged,” according to TSA.

Wells was quickly identified as the suspect Saturday afternoon but was able to flee as crowds of travelers evacuated the airport, Atlanta police said. Authorities are still working to locate him.

ExploreAirport gun discharge occurred despite TSA safety protocols

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

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