Questions surround woman who boarded plane at D/FW with gun

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on January 18, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 18 at 11:01 PM

DALLAS — It is a day 65-year-old Judith Kenney would certainly like to get back.

On Wednesday morning at 6:20 a.m. the Little Elm resident went through a security checkpoint at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a .38 caliber pistol.  She later told authorities it was a mistake.

Airport officials said her bag was supposed to go through a second screening by Transportation Security Administration agents, but that did not happen.

Somehow she was allowed to board her American Airlines flight with the weapon in her purse. 

Authorities had a photo of Kenney and set off a focused search inside the airport to find her.

“There were a series of procedures that we were going through in searching for this person,” said D/FW Airport spokesman David Magaña. “We swept all five terminals.”

Kenney’s actions delayed about 10 flights on Wednesday.

One passenger on board Kenney's flight to Houston told News 8 the search for her was unnerving. 

Michael McCullough said police boarded the plane at least two times, with a photograph, trying to ID Kenney, but she was not spotted.

The passenger said the plane was cleared, but then turned around just before takeoff. 

At that point, McCullough said, all women were asked to leave the plane with their belongings; that is when Kenney was found.

McCullough said TSA has some explaining to do.

“How does something like this get missed? And, like I said, we were minutes away from taking off,” McCullough said.

Kenney faces third degree felony charges of bringing a weapon into a secured area.  Her face is plastered all over the news. The embarrassment may end up being punishment enough.

Through her attorney, Kenney said it was a "total mistake" and she "regrets causing so much trouble."

This security lapse is clearly the fault of the TSA. However, a TSA spokesman declined to answer any questions about how its people failed to keep a deadly weapon off a loaded airplane. 

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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