A Pennsylvania physician who was behaving suspiciously and had made threatening remarks was arrested Wednesday at the Trump International Hotel in Washington after police found an assault-style rifle and handgun in his car, authorities said.
Bryan Moles of Edinboro, Pa., was taken into custody at the downtown hotel, where he was staying as a guest, police said. At a news conference, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said his department, as well as the Secret Service, received information from the Pennsylvania State Police that a tipster had reported that Moles, 43, was travelling to the Trump Hotel in Washington, armed with weapons and ammunition, at about 12:30 a.m.
Newsham said Moles checked into the hotel about 30 minutes later. Authorities worked with hotel security to locate Moles’ car, and later, Moles himself inside the hotel.
“I was very concerned about this circumstance,” Newsham said, “and I believe the officers and our federal partners, and in particular the tipster, averted a potential disaster here in our nation’s capital.”
A police report said authorities saw a firearm “in plain view” in Moles’s vehicle and found another inside the glove compartment. Police seized a Glock 23 pistol, a Bushmaster assault-style rifle and 90 rounds of ammunition.
Hotel spokeswoman Patricia Tang said in a statement that “authorities arrested a guest who was behaving suspiciously,” but referred further questions to authorities.
The police chief said Moles is being interviewed, and is co-operating with authorities. Newsham added that the department does not presently have enough evidence to charge Moles with making threats, although a department spokesman earlier indicated that was part of the tip to Pennsylvania authorities.
Moles is a physician who practices emergency medicine at a hospital in Erie, Pa. He is being charged with carrying a pistol without a license and having unregistered ammunition.
FBI spokeswoman Minique Crump said the agency initially responded, but referred further questions to the local police, who are taking the lead on the investigation.
Edinboro is about 160 kilometres north of Pittsburgh.
Arrest in Orlando incident
Meanwhile, man armed with a fake gun said that he wanted to speak to the president during an hours-long standoff with police at Florida’s Orlando International Airport, one of the country’s busiest, on Tuesday evening.
The Orlando Police Department, according to an arrest affidavit released on Wednesday, received a call from a female airport employee stating that the man, identified as Michael Pettigrew, 26, showed her a gun from underneath his jacket in the rental car area of the airport.
Pettigrew, a former Marine, gave the employee his cellphone before demanding that she call 911 because he wanted to “speak to the president” and that “she does not have a choice,” according to arrest documents.
During a nearly three-hour-long standoff, Pettigrew pointed what appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol at officers and said “shoot me, shoot me,” the department said in the affidavit. He eventually surrendered and was taken into custody shortly after 10:00 p.m.
Pettigrew faces one count of aggravated assault with a firearm and will be kept in custody on a mental health hold, the Orlando Police Department said.
No one was injured and no shots were fired during the incident, police said.