Bill Russell Apologizes for Airport Gun Arrest

NBA legend and ambassador Bill Russell apologized for his October 16 arrest for bringing a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, saying he “accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag.” Per the Boston Globe:

“Hall of Fame Celtics center Bill Russell issued a statement Saturday accepting responsibility for the Wednesday incident in which he was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage.

‘Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake,’ he said. ‘I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn’t have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe.’

Russell was arrested as he attempted to go through security. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper confirmed Friday night that Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. The gun was confiscated and he was released. Russell’s gun was a .38-caliber pistol and was loaded with six rounds, according to a TSA spokesman.

Russell was turned over to Port of Seattle police and there were no disruptions at the airport. The 79-year-old has lived in the Seattle area for decades.”