Police seize weapons from drivers
Police Chief Steve Wayman said he didn't know if it was the beginning of a trend or just isolated incidents, but this past week his officers made two arrests involving drivers carrying loaded weapons in their vehicles.
The first occurred Thursday, June 7, after police received a report of a driver brandishing a weapon in his vehicle on Kansas Highway 7. The second occurred Saturday, June 9, during a traffic stop near Second and Mary streets.
"You get two of these incidents in one week and you wonder," Wayman said this week. "We might have just hit the right stops at the right time. But if we get multiple guns within the same week through the end of year, I'd say it's a trend."
The first incident started about 5 p.m. Thursday, when police received a call from a driver on Kansas Highway 7 about another driver displaying a weapon in a threatening manner on the highway.
Wayman said officers intercepted the suspect's vehicle in the 700 block of 1st Terrace. The suspect told police he had held up a carrying case for the weapon. He said the weapon itself was in the trunk.
Police, learning the suspect was driving on a suspended license, searched the car and found a loaded 9 mm handgun underneath the driver's seat. They also found what was a leafy substance in the car and an open container of alcohol.
Police arrested the 34-year-old Tonganoxie man on charges of criminal use of a weapon, transporting an open container, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to Leavenworth County Jail and posted a $2,500 bond on Friday, June 7. He faces a June 27 court date.
The second incident occurred Saturday evening. Wayman said officers were running radar near Second and Mary streets, when a 1990 Honda traveling south on Second was clocked speeding 31 mph in a 20 mph zone.
After being stopped by police, the driver initially got out of the car then was ordered back into the vehicle, Wayman said. At that point, a passenger fled on foot.
As in the incident Thursday night, officers learned the driver had a suspended license and searched the car. They found a loaded 22-caliber revolver in the ashtray.
The driver, a 20-year-old Leavenworth man, was arrested and charged with speeding, driving on a suspended license, no driver's license in possession, criminal use of a weapon, obstructing official duty, illegal tag, no registration and no proof of insurance. He was taken to Leavenworth County Jail, where he posted a personal recognizance bond and was released on Sunday, June 10.
He is due in Lansing Municipal Court on July 11.
Neither driver, Wayman said, had a conceal-carry license.
"But they both would have been arrested for the other charges," he said.
In both cases, police seized the weapons.
"Depending on how you look at it, it's either a good week or a bad week for getting guns off the street," Wayman said.