Seven airport security workers fired in Chicago after allegedly letting armed man past

Monday, November 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Seven private security workers at O'Hare International Airport were fired for allegedly allowing a man to pass through a security checkpoint with several knives and a stun gun in his carry-on luggage.

Subash Gurung, 27, of Chicago, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and attempting to board an aircraft with weapons after he was arrested trying to board a United Airlines flight to Omaha, Neb., on Saturday night, said police spokesman Thomas Donegan. Both charges are misdemeanors.

The seven security workers, including one supervisor, were fired Sunday for failing to detain Gurung after two folding knives were discovered in his pocket when he passed through a metal detector.

Seven other knives, a stun gun and a can of mace were not noticed by the workers when Gurung's bag went through an X-ray machine, according to Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Gurung had made it past the security checkpoint at O'Hare, but airline employees in the gate area searched his carry-on bag and found the knives and the Taser gun, Donegan said.

``Something obviously went seriously wrong here, and we're trying to find out if it's the employees' fault,'' Bond said. ``If weapons were confiscated, he should never have been let through security.''

Gurung was released early Sunday. Chicago police and FBI officials decided he couldn't be charged with a federal crime because he didn't board an airplane, said police spokesman David Bayless.

United spokesman Joe Hopkins said Gurung was searched at the terminal gate as part of the airline's regular security procedures.

The fired workers worked for Atlanta-based Argenbright Security Inc., which operates the screening operations at United's terminal. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

Last month, the FAA and the Transportation Department announced an audit of the screeners employed by Argenbright, which operates at 14 airports. Officials alleged Argenbright has failed to adequately check employees' backgrounds.

Gurung is to appear in court Dec. 19.