White House press van driver detained outside Mar-a-Lago after gun found

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump pauses as he arrives to speak about the mass shooting at a South Florida High School from the White House, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Washington.Carolyn Kaster / AP

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By Safia Samee Ali

A press van driver hired to travel with Presidents Donald Trump’s motorcade in Florida was briefly detained and then pulled off the job after Secret Service agents discovered a gun in his bag, officials said Monday.

The incident occurred in a parking lot across the street from the president's Mar-A Lago resort, where he was spending the day.

According to a statement from the Secret Service, agents found the weapon during a routine security sweep of all press members and employees roughly an hour before press vans were scheduled to join the president’s motorcade.

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Security officers saw a bag that attracted special attention, which prompted a search, according to White House press pool reports.

President Donald Trump gestures to the media as he leaves the White House on Friday for a trip to his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

The Secret Service confirmed they discovered a firearm inside a bag belonging to a “staff contracted driver” who was then “briefly detained” and questioned by law enforcement officials.

The driver, who was hired along with three other drivers, said he forgot to leave the weapon in his personal vehicle before coming to work, according to White House press pool reports.

While the Secret Service said the man was “found to be in lawful possession of a prohibited item (firearm)” they still prohibited him as well as three other drivers from entering club grounds or driving the vehicles.

White House staffers drove the press vans in their place.

The Secret Service said they investigated and resolved the incident with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and stressed that "at no time was any Secret Service protectee in danger or impacted," according to the statement. Adding that: "all Secret Service security measures worked."

The incident involving the firearm comes amid a raging national debate on gun control sparked by the Parkland shootings, which occurred just 40 miles from the president's resort.

Associated Press contributed.