An Indiana pastor who was arrested Monday morning with a loaded handgun at Midway International Airport on Monday has posted a statement on Facebook, calling the incident an “innocent mistake.”
Sieon Roberts, 35, faces one misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed firearm in an airport, according to a statement from Chicago Police.
The loaded 9 mm Taurus Millennium firearm was discovered Monday morning in his carry-on luggage, according to a statement from the TSA.
Roberts, of Hobart, Ind., was flying to LaGuardia Airport in New York, authorities said.
“I feel terrible about the incident that occurred at the airport, and I take full responsibility – it was an innocent mistake that I regret,” Roberts said in a statement posted to his Facebook page
Roberts is a pastor at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, Ind. The statement said Roberts did not realize the gun was in his backpack when he went to the airport. The pastor attributed the “innocent, but shameful oversight” to a “tireless weekend of various speaking engagements accompanied by travel.”
Roberts said in the statement that he bought the handgun for protection because of recent auto burglaries nearby.
Roberts has an Indiana permit to carry a concealed weapon, the statement said, but “maintains his position against gun violence.”
He is scheduled to appear in court April 24.
This is the sixth firearm discovered in carry-on luggage at Midway in 2015, according to the TSA. In 2014, a total of six firearms were discovered at the Southwest Side airport.