An allegedly missing 8-inch fishing knife turned up hidden in the cushion of a wheelchair belonging to a Connecticut man who was trying to catch a flight out of LaGuardia Wednesday, federal officials say.
Transportation Security Administration officials say an officer screening the wheelchair, which is required under agency protocol, noticed something that seemed to be hidden in the seat cushion. The officer removed a portion of the chair to get a better look, and found a sharp folding knife in the cushion.
The man in the wheelchair told TSA agents he was a fisherman, that he'd lost his knife, and that it apparently somehow found its way into the wheelchair cushion in such a way that it could only be removed after the chair was taken apart.
Police cited the man, who officials identified as Yancey Horton of New Haven, on a state weapons charge. After thorough screening of him and his chair, he was allowed to catch his flight to Atlanta, the TSA said.
Travelers who bring weapons to security checkpoints face possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.
Horton is a well-known community activist who has publicly documented his attempts to walk again after being shot in a 2004 robbery. In 2015 he was in the news after going to a hospital with a cut that would not heal and discovering he had actually been shot again.