Virginia man arrested at inauguration security checkpoint in possession of gun, 500 rounds ammo and unauthorized credential, police say

Jessica Contrera, Carol D. Leonnig, Katie Mettler
Washington Post

Washington — A Virginia man has been arrested after law enforcement found at least one firearm and more than 500 rounds of ammunition in his truck as he tried to enter an inauguration security checkpoint near the Capitol on Friday evening with a credential that was not authorized, according to court documents.

Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, of Front Royal, Va., drove his Ford F-150 up to a checkpoint on E Street Northeast of the Capitol, where he was met by Capitol Police officers, according to the court documents.

Workers install no-scale fencing around the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday.

Beeler is facing charges stemming from unlawful possession of weapons and ammunition.

His mother Charlotte Beeler said she was shocked to hear her son had been arrested because he told her he was helping secure downtown Washington. His family said he works in private security.

"I don't believe that," she said, when she heard the charges.

Beeler appeared in the District of Columbia Superior Court on Saturday afternoon, where a judge ordered him released on personal recognizance and issued a stay-away order from the District. Beeler is not allowed to return to the city except to appear in court or meet with his lawyer.

U.S. Capitol police said in charging papers that Beeler presented them with what appeared to be an credential to enter the area, but an officer determined he was "not authorized to enter the restricted area."

As his credential was being checked, another officer noted bumper stickers on the truck's windows, which read, "Assault Life" and "If they come for your guns giv 'em your bullets first," police said.

More:Journalists prepare for protests where they could be targets

More:Official: No ‘direct evidence’ of plot to kill at Capitol

For subscribers:The Capitol mob came dangerously close to Pence

The officers asked Beeler if he had weapons in the car, and he volunteered that he had a Glock in his center armrest, charging papers said.

After removing Beeler from the truck, officers found the firearm, a 9mm handgun, was loaded with a high-capacity magazine and 17 rounds of ammunition and the pistol was chambered and ready to fire, court document said.

Police said they also found more than 500 rounds of pistol ammunition, including hollow-point bullets.

Nearly two dozen shotgun shells were "located in plain sight in the rear cargo area of the vehicle," the court documents said.

According to his parents, Beeler is a private security contractor who had been reporting for work in downtown Washington throughout the past week, helping provide security in the wake of the siege on the Capitol.

His father Paul Beeler told The Post in a telephone interview Saturday that for the last several days, Beeler has been working a late evening shift, commuting from his Virginia home to report to a work site near the U.S. Capitol every night at 6 p.m. He has had numerous security assignments in the past, his father said, was offered a position to work in executive protection and had previously helped provide security for a Saudi embassy property.

Beeler's father said he could believe his son had numerous weapons in his vehicle. "Those are things he needed for his armed security work," he said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service declined to answer questions about Beeler's inauguration credentials, and referred questions to the Capitol police, who did not respond to requests for comment.

Beeler's wife Noelle Beeler also said he was working for a private security company doing work near the Capitol grounds this week. She said she too realizes why people reacted with fear and concern at the report of a man with a Glock and a cache of ammo in his truck in downtown Washington.

"It's understandable during these times. It does sound suspicious." she said. But she stressed her husband is no danger and is glad he has been released.

The Washington Post's Peter Hermann, Alex Horton and Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.