Chicago — Prosecutors said Tuesday that a Texas man absentmindedly took a gun to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on January 11 and put it on an I-beam before going through security, intending to retrieve it when he returned from his trip.
Officials said that the gun was not loaded and sat on the beam until a passerby discovered it the next day. Cops arrested Decorius Haynes as he stepped off his return flight Monday.
Haynes placed the gun on a “structural I-beam” and placed its ammunition magazine under it before heading to the security checkpoint at Terminal 3, prosecutor Sarah Dale-Schmidt said.
Someone spotted the gun the next day and alerted authorities. Chicago police officers revived airport video footage and eventually identified Haynes as the passenger who put the gun on the beam. They also learned that he would return on a January 23 flight and arranged to arrest him upon arrival.
Dale-Schmidt said Haynes admitted to placing the gun on the beam.
He is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon based on a 2009 burglary conviction in Texas.
During a bail hearing on Tuesday, Haynes’ public defender told Judge Susana Ortiz that he is a lifelong Texas resident and an interstate truck driver. The lawyer reminded Ortiz that, unlike Illinois, Texas is an “open carry” state.
“Well,” Ortiz countered, “I don’t know of any state, whether it’s open carry or not, that allows firearms just to be stashed in public locations.”
She ordered Haynes to post a $750 deposit toward bail to get out of jail. Ortiz also permitted him to return to Texas and continue working as a truck driver while the case is pending.