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Armed man arrested at NC airport as Obama departs

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- An Ohio man has been charged after authorities spotted him with a gun in a North Carolina airport parking lot as Air Force One was departing Sunday afternoon.

Joseph McVey, 23, is charged with going armed in terror of the public, a misdemeanor, said Asheville Regional Airport Police Capt. Kevan Smith. Airport police saw McVey get out of a car about 2 p.m. in the rental car return lot and he had a gun, Smith said. He was taken into custody immediately and was being held at the Buncombe County jail.

Security was heightened at the airport because President Barack Obama 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. Local police were in charge of the investigation. 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.