WASHINGTON – A Virginia man was arrested after law enforcement found at least one firearm and ammunition in his truck as he tried to enter an inauguration security checkpoint near the Capitol on Friday evening with a credential that was not authorized, according to court documents.
Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, of Front Royal, drove his Ford F-150 up to a checkpoint on E Street Northeast of the Capitol, where he was met by Capitol Police officers, according to the court documents.
Beeler was arrested on charges of carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition, a Capitol Police spokesperson said. A judge ordered him released on personal recognizance and issued a stay-away order from the District.
“It was an honest mistake,” Beeler explained after being released. In a tear-filled interview, he said he has spent the last week working as hired security in downtown Washington ahead of the inauguration. He was running late to work and forgot that his firearm was in his truck when he left his home in Virginia, where he said he has a license to carry. He denied that he had more than 500 rounds of ammunition listed in his arrest report.
“I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in D.C. because I’m a country boy,” he said. “I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me.”
Beeler said he was given a credential by his employer, MVP Protective Services. A man who answered a phone number connected with MVP protective services said, “Unfortunately, at this time I am not authorized to speak,” when reached by a reporter Saturday evening.
U.S. Capitol police said in charging papers that while they determined Beeler was “not authorized to enter the restricted area” and in a statement Saturday that he presented “a non-government issued” credential.
As his credential was being checked, another officer noted bumper stickers on the truck’s windows, which read, “Assault Life” and “If they come for your guns giv ’em your bullets first,” police said.
The officers asked Beeler if he had weapons in the car, and he volunteered that he had a Glock in his center armrest, charging papers said.
After removing Beeler from the truck, officers found the firearm, a 9mm handgun, was loaded with a high-capacity magazine and 17 rounds of ammunition and the pistol was chambered and ready to fire, court document said.
Police said they also found more than 500 rounds of pistol ammunition, including hollow-point bullets. Nearly two dozen shotgun shells were “located in plain sight in the rear cargo area of the vehicle,” the court documents said.
Beeler said he recalls having only the loaded firearm and the shotgun shells in his vehicle.
“It was just me forgetting to take it out of my truck before I left for work. I don’t know what the D.C. laws are. It still comes back on me, but I’m not a criminal,” Beeler said.
Beeler said he volunteered for a job in the District of Columbia after a friend let him know of an overnight job with MVP to guard media equipment located at 7th and Constitution. He said the credential he was given has previously been enough to enter that area.
He said he has numerous security assignments in the past, including working as a corrections officer and providing security for a Saudi embassy property. A spokesman for Allied Universal Security Services confirmed that Beeler previously worked for a smaller security company it acquired.
Beeler’s mother and father, who both spoke to The Post before Beeler was released from custody, said he works in private security and had been reporting for work downtown through the past week.
Beeler’s wife, Noelle Beeler, said she realizes why people reacted with fear and concern at the report of a man with a Glock and a cache of ammo in his truck in downtown Washington.
“It’s understandable during these times. It does sound suspicious,” she said. The couple was trying to find a way for Beeler to return home after his release and to explain what happened to their children.
“I don’t want my kids to think I’m a bad person,” Beeler said.
Beeler has been ordered not to return to the city except to appear in court or meet with his lawyer.
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The Washington Post’s Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Peter Hermann, Alex Horton, and Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.