A Camden man was arrested Wednesday after authorities said they found a loaded 9 mm handgun in his bag as he tried to enter a congressional office building in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reports.
The U.S. Capitol Police arrested Ronald William Prestage, 59, Wednesday morning after he was stopped at about 9:20 a.m. for a routine search of visitors at the Rotunda entrance of the Cannon House Office Building.
Officer Shennell S. Antrobus, a spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police, said officers found the loaded Ruger handgun in Prestage’s bag.
It is believed that Prestage was attending a meeting in the US House office building. Police would not comment on anything the suspect told them. He was being charged with carrying a weapon outside a home or office, a felony.
Many congressional staff including South Carolina U.S. Representatives Tom Rice, Mark Sanford, James Clyburn, and Jeff Duncan have offices in the building.
Prestage was part of a group scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon on the senate side of the US Capitol with staffers in Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) office, Graham spokesman Kevin Biship said.
Prestage is a veterinarian, poultry and hog farmer and the president of Kershaw County-based Prestage Farms.
In addition, he is a member of North Carolina State University's Board of Trustees, is a past president of the National Turkey Federation, has served on the executive committee of the Palmetto AgriBusiness Council, and has been an outspoken advocate of turkey and hog farming in South Carolina and related legislation, having written a guest opinion column for The State newspaper.
It is the second time in five days that police said they caught someone with a gun at the Cannon Building, though at different entrances.
On Friday, a press secretary for a Pennsylvania Republican was charged with a gun offense; his attorney said he forgot he had the weapon in a bag. Friday’s incident occurred at the southeast doors of the building.
Ryan Lee Shucard, press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino (Pa.), was charged with the same gun offense. He was released from jail on Saturday and scheduled to appear in D.C. Superior Court Aug. 7.
Police said that an officer saw a gun magazine with nine hollow-point bullets in a bag as it went through an X-ray machine and then found the unloaded weapon.
Shucard’s attorney said his client said taking the gun to work was a mistake and was “completely inadvertent.”
Shucard was put on unpaid administrative leave. Marino represents the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District, which includes areas north of Scranton.
Prestage was taken to the Capitol Police Department’s Central Cell Block.
The Washington Post contributed to this report