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Marine Had Two Loaded Guns, 114 Live Rounds Outside Capitol, Police Say

Updated 4:44 p.m. |  The Marine Corps congressional fellow arrested Tuesday on Capitol grounds was carrying two loaded guns, 114 rounds of live ammunition, a military ballistic vest and two knives in his car, court documents state. Following an arraignment, he appears headed for a new assignment, off the Hill.  

Gunnery Sgt. Peter James Boby pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three misdemeanor charges in D.C. Superior Court. His wrists and ankles were shackled during the brief arraignment. Boby, who wore a plaid shirt and jeans, was released from custody on his personal recognizance around 3 p.m. He told CQ Roll Call he had no comment on the case. Court documents state that Boby approached a Capitol Police barricade on C Street SW at approximately 2:07 p.m. Tuesday, in a blue sedan with North Carolina plates. An officer noticed a “green metal military style ammunition box” in the trunk, according to court documents that provide a detailed account of the arrest, and discovered a handgun inside the box.

The officer asked Boby and his female passenger, identified as Elizabeth McCullough, to exit the vehicle. Another officer placed Boby and McCullough in handcuffs.

Both admitted to knowing there was a gun in the trunk and said they had just come from the range, according to the documents. They asked the officer if they could “leave the scene and take the gun home.”

Two crime scene search officers responded to the scene and began investigating. They discovered a Glock .45 semi-automatic handgun in the glove compartment, with one magazine containing 13 live rounds and an empty chamber.

In the trunk, further investigation of the ammunition box revealed a Kimber .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun with one magazine with six live rounds and an empty chamber, plus seven additional magazines, containing 34 live rounds; two Glock thirteen round .45 auto magazines, one with 13 live rounds, the other with 11 live rounds; and one box of Blazer ammunition containing 37 live .45 automatic rounds.

Police also found a military ballistic vest containing five empty .223 magazines in the trunk, an empty Glock handgun box and two knives. Boby has no license to carry a handgun in D.C., according to the police. Both guns appeared to be operable.

The D.C. Office of the Attorney General is prosecuting the case. Boby faces three misdemeanor charges related to the weapons. He is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 23.

Joe Kasper, a spokesman for California GOP Rep. 
Duncan Hunter
, initially said the office hoped Boby could come back to work. He emphasized that the weapons were registered properly elsewhere, and that Boby had been “a top notch performer” since he started working as a fellow in January.

But in a subsequent phone call, Kasper said Boby was being reassigned off the Hill to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC. The change means his fellowship with Hunter’s office ends about four months earlier than anticipated.

“Peter is a warrior,” Kasper said, adding that the congressman respects the Marine Corps’ decision. He emphasized that the mowing to the MARSOC unit put Boby in a role he desired.  

A statement from the Marine Corps explained the incident would be worked out in the courts.

“The alleged firearms violation that occurred on Aug. 4, 2015 was a mistake on the part of Gunnery Sgt. Boby, and is in stark contrast to more than two decades of honorable, [meritorious] service,” stated Maj. Paul L. Greenberg, a Marine Corps public affairs officer, in an email praising his service. “This is a civil matter, and Gunnery Sgt. Boby will cooperate with civilian law enforcement officials to resolve this issue.”

Greenberg said Boby’s more than 20 years of service in the Marines was “commendable.” He noted Boby is “highly-decorated combat veteran” who was deployed during the Iraq War. According to Greenberg, Boby was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat “V,” the Purple Heart, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for his service.

Capitol Police began conducting additional security screening at the garages last summer, in the wake of two incidents that cast campus security in a new light. In July 2014 police found a 9mm handgun in the bag of Ryan Shucard, press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino , R-Pa. Five days later, police arrested South Carolina pork executive Ronald Prestage at another Cannon door after finding a loaded 9mm handgun inside an ankle holster in his briefcase.  

During last August’s recess, Capitol Police began enforcing the new ID-check policy at the House garages. When a car pulls up, officers check for the requisite parking stickers and ask every passenger to show credentials. Any passenger older than 18 who is without a congressional ID is required to exit the vehicle prior to its entry into the garage and enter through pedestrian doors equipped with X-ray machines and magnetometers.  

The change was one effort to “tighten security” at the House garages. Staffers complained it was inconvenient and ineffective.  

Capitol officials have announced further security changes are underway to enhance screening of staffers who park in the garages.  

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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