A Virginia man who was arrested at a police checkpoint in Washington D.C. over the weekend, has been released from custody following a brief court appearance.
Although initial news reports hyped the story, investigators said they do not consider Wesley Beeler, a security contractor who was working in the area, to be a threat to public safety.
Beeler, 31, “was arrested shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday after police found two unregistered Glock 9mm handguns, 509 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 21 12-gauge shotgun shells and one 17-round Glock 17 magazine, all in his truck,” USA Today reported.
CNN covered the “disturbing story” throughout the day Saturday, inaccurately reporting that Beeler had tried to get past the security checkpoint using “fake” inaugural credentials.
“US Capitol Police arrested a Virginia man as he attempted to pass through a police checkpoint in a locked-down zone of downtown Washington, DC, Friday with “fake” inaugural credentials, an unregistered handgun and over 500 rounds of ammunition, according to court documents,” the story first read.
New: US Capitol Police arrested a Virginia man as he attempted to pass through a police checkpoint in downtown Washington Friday with fake inaugural credentials, a loaded handgun & over 500 rounds of ammunition, CNN reporting.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) January 16, 2021
There's very disturbing breaking news here in Washington. @CNN reports U.S. Capitol Police arrested a Virginia man with fake inaugural credentials, a loaded gun and over 500 rounds of ammunition. I'm anchoring special @CNNSitRoom coverage today 3-7PM ET.
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) January 16, 2021
As it turned out, Beeler had a valid credential for inaugural events, but it was not recognized by the officers, according to an Associated Press law enforcement source.
CNN’s story was later edited to describe his credentials as “unauthorized.”
Beeler’s father told the the New York Times that his son has been working an armed security job with the Capitol Police. The security contractor was authorized to have a firearm for his security work, but the gun was not registered in Washington, D.C., according to the Times.
After his release Saturday, Beeler told the Washington Post he’d forgotten to take his firearm out of his vehicle when he left his home in Virginia, where he has a license to carry, because he had been running late for work. He said that “it was an honest mistake.”
“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 also told the Post that his employer, MVP Protective Services, had given him the inauguration credentials that Capitol Police rejected.
Up to 25,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to Washington D.C. to secure Joe Biden’s inauguration, although no specific threats have been identified.
Deep state officials are also worried that “an insider attack” could come from service members (who tend to lean conservative), so the FBI is “vetting” all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues that they were aware of.
”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said in an interview.