ORLANDO, FL — On November 18, 2020, just before 7:00 pm, Orlando Police Officer James Ruhl was stationed at Orlando International Airport’s West Security Checkpoint when he was summoned by Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Veronica Bell to the X-ray machine of lane #10, operated by Transportation Security Officer (“TSO”) Selena De Grijze. TSO De Grijze was new to the job and was being trained by TSO Ladawn Stevens. The training was more eventful than anyone had planned.
TSO De Grijze told Officer Ruehl that she had observed, via the X-ray machine, a handgun inside of a gold ladies handbag. Officer Ruhl glanced at the X-ray machine monitor and confirmed the unmistakable silhouette of a pistol. The following is from the report of Officer Ruhl, lightly edited for clarity:
I removed the gold ladies handbag from the plastic container on the belt, which is the bag that Witness De Grijze stated was the bag containing the alleged handgun. I walked toward the end of the lane and observed a white female, who was later identified as suspect Samantha Sberna, standing near the end of the lane opposite of me. She appeared to be concerned about the bag I was carrying. She stated she forgot she had a firearm in her handbag. She handed me her New Hampshire driver license upon my request. I searched inside the handbag and located the firearm in the center compartment. I also located other items inside the handbag with the suspect’s name on them. The suspect stated she had a valid concealed weapon permit in the state of New Hampshire, however she did not have it in her possession. Officer J. Givens arrived to assist me, and walked with the suspect into the OPD office for processing of this case.
I ran the suspect on teletype for warrants via my police radio. I requested verification of the suspect’s claim that she had a concealed weapons
permit in the state of New Hampshire. Teletype advised the suspect did not have any active warrants and she did not have a concealed
weapons permit in New Hampshire. We ran criminal history and the suspect does not appear to have any felony convictions.
I removed a black Glock model 43, 9mm, from the center compartment of the gold handbag. There was a magazine containing (5) rounds inside the handgun’s magazine well, and there was a round chambered. The handgun appeared fully functional capable of expelling projectile through the use of an explosion.
The TSA checkpoint is a sterile area within OIA, where firearms are prohibited. There are signs posted at the entrance to the TSA screening area, that warns anyone entering the checkpoint that firearms are prohibited.
The listed firearm, magazine and six (6) rounds of ammunition were placed into OPD Property and Evidence reference this case number. Witnesses Bell, Stevens and De Grijze submitted sworn written statements and they will testify in court.
OFC P. Owen (34447) assisted with evidence packaging and obtaining statements from the witnesses. OFC J. Jones (11682) managed the
suspect while I processed this case.
I advised SGT S. Stites (15336) of the incident and the decision was made to arrest the suspect for carrying a concealed firearm, a third-degree felony.
*Note: this video presents all of the events captured on body-worn camera.
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