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Armed man arrested at US airport as Obama departs

A man was charged after authorities spotted him with a gun in a North Carolina airport parking lot as President Barack Obama's plane was departing.

world Updated: Apr 26, 2010 16:41 IST

A man was charged after authorities spotted him with a gun in a North Carolina airport parking lot as President Barack Obama's plane was departing.

Joseph McVey, 23, was charged with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor, said airport police Capt Kevan Smith. Police saw McVey get out of a car about 2 pm local time in the rental car return lot and he had a gun, Smith said. He was taken into custody immediately and is being held at the county jail.

Security was heightened at the airport because President Barack Obama, who was leaving after vacationing in the state, headed to the memorial service for the 29 West Virginia coal miners killed in an explosion. The suspect was nowhere near the President's plane and was in a public area.

Obama also visited 91-year-old evangelist Billy Graham's home after spending the weekend in Asheville.

McVey's car had strobe lights like a police car might, but the suspect is not in law enforcement, said Smith.

The investigation into what McVey was doing with a gun and why his car was equipped with strobe lights is continuing, Smith said.

The Secret Service had no comment on the arrest, deferring to airport police.

A jail officer did not have a hometown listed for McVey and said it didn't appear McVey had an attorney. His bond was set at $ 100,000.