WASHINGTON - A 31-year-old Virginia man says he was lost and asking for directions when he was arrested for showing up at a D.C. inauguration security checkpoint on Friday evening with a gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
In the wake of a Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol, federal authorities are warning that right-wing activists are planning additional violent actions leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden.
In response, thousands of National Guard members are occupying D.C. to support local and federal law enforcement.
Wesley Beeler, 31, of Front Royal was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and possession of an unregistered firearm and ammunition.
According to Beeler, he’d become lost while on his way to a security job in D.C. when he stopped at the checkpoint for directions when he was arrested.
"This blew up into this whole domestic terrorist thing. Just because things are happening out there doesn’t mean that’s what I’m trying to do. I forgot my firearm was in the truck and I was just trying to make it to work," Beeler told FOX 5.
Beeler said security measures in place in the nation’s capital right now made it complicated to navigate his way to work.
"You can literally go to the national mall and ask any other security who are wearing black that says MVP protective servicesI’ll put their name out there because they are not helping me right now but you can go ask them, ask them to show you the placard they were given because that’s what was given to me and all I was trying to do was show him what I had and ask how do I get around the blockade because I got lost —everything is blocked off and I’m just trying to make money for my family I’m not trying to hurt anybody," he said.
According to Capitol police and court documents, Beeler pulled up to a security check point on North Capitol and E streets, Northeast in his truck, showing what police say were unauthorized credentials Friday around 6:30 p.m.
When officers asked Beeler to pull his truck away from the checkpoint for further investigation, they saw that his truck had multiple firearm-related decals, including one saying "Assault Life" and another saying "If They Come For Your Guns, Give 'Em Your Bullets First."
Beeler then proceeded to tell police he had a Glock handgun under his center armrest. The gun was loaded with 16 bullets. Then they found an additional 509 bullets and a bandolier with 21 shotgun shells.
The Virginia man claims that he did not have 500 bullets.
Beeler has been ordered to stay away from the District except to appear in court or meet with his lawyer.