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Heavily armed man arrested aboard Washington state ferry

Court documents revealed the man had an AR-15 style weapon and about 60 rounds in his waistband. He was arrested for carrying the weapon aboard without a permit.

MUKILTEO, Wash — A trip across Puget Sound turned tense Wednesday night as a heavily armed man was arrested on board a Washington state ferry.

It happened during the evening commute between Mukilteo and Clinton. In the rush of passengers boarding the Tokitae ferry, one man raised some alarm among crew members.

“As they looked a little closer they observed what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Kevin Fortino.

Court documents revealed a loaded AR-15 style rifle was tucked under the man’s coat, along with three magazines holding some 60 rounds in his waistband.

After walking onboard, the man walked directly to a restroom. Two ferry workers, both military veterans, kept their eyes on him while they called for help and directed WSP troopers to his exact location.

The captain kept the fully loaded ferry at the terminal as tactical teams prepared for the worst and troopers came on board.

Fortino said the man appeared to be drunk.

“I can’t speculate to his intent. I’m thankful it was resolved safely,” he said.

RELATED: 'A dire situation': A busy travel weekend spells trouble for Washington state ferries

Ultimately, troopers arrested the man without incident. He was charged with two gross misdemeanors for carrying and concealing a dangerous weapon without a permit.

Ferry spokesperson Ian Sterling said workers have had run-ins with the man previously.

“Allegedly he has refused to wear a mask in the past. It’s somebody they have seen before. He will likely be trespassed from the ferry system,” Sterling said.

You are allowed to carry a gun on board a ferry, open or concealed, as long as you’re doing it safely and have the proper permit, which this man did not. 

There have been approximately 200 mass shootings in America this year, alone. Nine people were killed just Wednesday at a workplace massacre in San Jose, California.

Investigators said the armed ferry rider told them he was carrying the powerful rifle and dozens of rounds of ammunition for “personal protection.”

While the full story aboard the ferry is still being investigated, Fortino said the public can’t be too careful.

“If you see something, say something. If you have even the slightest concern, that’s what we’re here to do is investigate those types of things.”