August 6, 1997 in Nation/World

Man With Semiautomatic Pistol Disarmed By Pentagon Guard

Associated Press

A man with a loaded pistol in his knapsack walked into the Pentagon on Tuesday, demanded to see the “admiral in charge” and pulled his gun on a security guard, officials said.

Security officer Christopher Freeman grabbed the man’s hand, forced him to the floor and twisted the weapon away. The man had 130 rounds of ammunition for the 9 mm semiautomatic Beretta, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon.

Bacon identified the gunman as Raymond Steve Maestas, 36, of West Covina, Calif. The spokesman said it appeared Maestas had no military service record, but he did have a criminal record.

Bacon said Maestas, asked whether he had an official pass to enter the Pentagon, responded that he wanted “to see the admiral in charge.” He also asked about seeing the “vice admiral” about a car theft, the spokesman said.

Freeman’s co-worker considered the comments odd and telephoned for help. As Freeman approached Maestas, the man drew his gun.

Bacon said the 5-foot-6, 165-pound security officer quickly disarmed the 5-foot-11, 240-pound Maestas.

“He did his job very well. He did exactly what he was trained to do,” Bacon said of Freeman, who has received extra training as part of the Pentagon’s Emergency Response Team, a SWAT-type of unit.

The incident occurred at 8:12 a.m., as dozens of civilian workers and military personnel were arriving for work.

Bacon said Maestas was being questioned by the FBI and the Pentagon’s Defense Protective Service, which polices the huge office building and surrounding area.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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