PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona doctor was arrested on suspicion of pointing a rifle toward a woman and her 17-year-old daughter inside a busy Phoenix airport terminal, police said on Monday.
They said Peter Nathan Steinmetz, 54, removed the AR-15 style rifle from a hanging position over his shoulder inside Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s busiest terminal on Friday and pointed it in the direction of the women.
No shots were fired and it was unclear whether the rifle was loaded. Steinmetz was arrested shortly afterwards on suspicion of two felony counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon.
Police who interviewed the two women said they “indicated they were in fear for their safety” during the incident, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Steve Martos said.
He had no information on whether or not the suspect knew the women, or on a possible motive for the incident.
Steinmetz told police he was at the airport to get coffee and had no other business there, according to court documents.
Martos said Arizona law permitted Steinmetz to bring the semi-automatic weapon into non-secure areas of the airport.
The incident occurred eight months after a gunman killed a federal security screener at the entrance to a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.
The website of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix said Steinmetz was a director of its neuroengineering program. A woman answering the telephone at Steinmetz’s home said he has been advised by his attorney not to comment.
Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix, Arizona; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Mark Heinrich