An armed teenager was arrested late Sunday evening after allegedly driving through the security checkpoint at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland while Vice President Kamala Harris was transferring flights on the tarmac.
Around 9 p.m., a vehicle with two people inside drove through the security checkpoint and was stopped when the 316th Security Forces Group deployed the barriers at the gate, according to a statement from Joint Base Andrews.
Shortly after, a 17-year-old was apprehended and was in possession of a gun, the press release said.
Units from Prince George’s County Police, Maryland State Police, the Metropolitan Police Department and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations swamped the base to search for the other person.
As security forces grappled with the armed person at the gate, Harris had just arrived on the base at 8:47 p.m. on Air Force Two, according to pool reports.
She was returning from a trip to Selma, Alabama, where she honored the 57th anniversary of Bloody Sunday where civil rights demonstrators were beaten by state troopers.
Joint Base Andrews is where the president’s and vice president’s airplanes are based.
Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff were on the ground for a matter of minutes, and were on Marine Two around 8:51 p.m., per a pool reporter.
The vice president’s staff, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan were traveling with Harris.
All the officials had safely left the base, according to pool reports.
A sweep of Joint Base Andrews concluded Monday morning with authorities reporting that the other person in the vehicle had fled the installation, the press release said.
"I am incredibly proud of the quick actions of our Defenders to immediately deploy the barriers to stop last night's stolen vehicle and then apprehend one of the individuals that had a weapon. The Defenders handled the intense situation with discipline and calm professionalism," Col. Tyler Schaff, 316th Wing and Joint Base Andrews installation commander, said in a press release.
The main gate at Joint Base Andrews reopened early Monday morning after a six-hour closure. An investigation of the incident is ongoing, Schaff said.
This isn’t the only recent security breach at Joint Base Andrews.
In February 2021, an intruder got on base and entered a plane often used by military officials and government leaders. The incident prompted widespread reviews of security at Air Force bases worldwide.
-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.