OXFORD, Neb. • An armed man got into a locomotive on an Amtrak train passing through southwest Nebraska early Saturday and pulled the emergency brake while about 175 passengers were on board, authorities say.
Deputies from Furnas and Harlan counties responded to the incident in Oxford around 1:54 a.m. after being alerted that the eastbound California Zephyr was in emergency response mode, Furnas County Sheriff Kurt Kapperman said in a news release.
Amtrak staff detained Taylor M. Wilson, 25, of St. Charles, Mo., and turned him over to the Furnas County Sheriff’s Department, the release said.
Kapperman’s deputies found a loaded Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolver on Wilson’s waistband and a speed loader for the weapon in his pocket. They also seized two bags containing three more speed loaders, a box of ammo for the revolver, a knife, tin snips, scissors and a ventilation mask, Kapperman said.
Wilson was traveling from Sacramento, Calif., to St. Louis, and somehow got into the second locomotive and stopped the train using the emergency brake, the release said.
It’s believed Amtrak engineers in control of the train were in the first locomotive, which was at the front of the train and can’t be accessed from the second locomotive directly behind it.
Deputies arrested Wilson on suspicion of felony criminal mischief and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.
He was being held at the Furnas County jail on $25,000 bond.
Kapperman didn’t say how Wilson got the gun on board — whether he carried it on himself or retrieved it from a checked bag.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said that detail was unclear and that the exact circumstances are under investigation.
Amtrak only allows firearms in checked baggage, and only if they are unloaded. However, train passengers aren’t required to undergo the level of screening required of airline passengers. The difference reflects the vastness of Amtrak’s rail system and the “‘open’ and therefore porous transportation environment” it operates within, the company says on its website.
Wilson had a Missouri-issued conceal-carry permit in his wallet, a Furnas County deputy wrote in court documents.
Saturday’s incident delayed the train by a little more than an hour, Magliari said.
The eastbound train departed the Sacramento area Thursday morning, with its expected arrival in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. From Chicago, Amtrak trains connect to the St. Louis area.