A man arrested for having a gun on the grounds of the US Capitol on his 80th birthday Wednesday says the incident was a mistake.
Tony H. Payne of Georgia was arrested and charged with unregistered firearm, unregistered ammunition and carrying a handgun without a license.
He was released after a court appearance Thursday in which he was ordered to stay away from the US Capitol.
Payne told News4 he was helping a woman who wanted to file some documents with the US Supreme Court.
US police spotted his van parked illegally on the Capitol grounds around 3:45 p.m. and asked him if he had a weapon. He told them he had, and officers found two handguns and a shotgun in the van, police said.
Payne told News4 he is a patriotic disabled Vietnam veteran who legally owns a gun in Georgia.
The woman he was with said her car broke down and she asked Payne to drive her to the Supreme Court to file documents in a complicated legal matter that is ongoing. She said she handed over the documents and returned to the van to find Payne and his grandson being taken into custody by police.
Neither the woman nor Payne’s grandson were arrested. Payne spent his birthday night in jail.
Payne said he plans to fight the charges.
East Capitol Street is closed between 1st and 3rd Streets, 1st The street is closed between Avenue Ustavuta and Nezavisnosti, and 2n.d The street was closed between Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue as police investigated the van on Wednesday.
The police freed the van around 6 p.m