Washington (CNN)A Marine assigned as an aide to California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter was arrested Tuesday for allegedly bringing a handgun onto congressional property, but his office and the Marines say it was a mistake.
U.S. Capitol Police arrested Hunter’s Marines fellow Peter Boby for bringing a loaded .45 caliber handgun onto U.S. Capitol Grounds Tuesday afternoon, Capitol Police confirmed to CNN.
“I’ve had fellows for years and Peter has been a top notch performer,” Hunter said in a statement. “He’s a hero who’s seen combat, who’s been wounded and who’s been in good standing with the Marine Corps throughout. We are still getting the facts, but this was most likely an accident. There’s no reason to suggest it was intentional.”
Police found the gun when Boby was stopped at roughly 2 p.m. for a routine car inspection outside the Rayburn House Office Building where Hunter’s office is located, according to a Capitol police spokeswoman. The gun was found in his car.
Boby was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, unregistered ammunition and an unregistered firearm.
The incident is not the first case this summer of a congressional staffer bringing a gun onto the Hill. In June, an intern for Kansas Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins was arrested for bringing an unloaded weapon into a House office building. And last month, a press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pennsylvania, was also caught trying to enter House offices with a gun and magazine.
The Marines confirmed that Boby is an active-duty gunnery sergeant assigned as a congressional fellow. According to Boby’s LinkedIn profile and a Marines website, he is assigned to Hunter’s office.
“[Boby’s] service in the Marine Corps over the past 20 years and seven months has been commendable,” said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ty Balzer, who noted Boby’s “highly-decorated” record. “He was selected to be a congressional fellow based on his past performance as a Marine, and his stated desire to work as a fellow and have a positive impact on veterans’ issues. … 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. This is a civil matter, and Gunnery Sgt. Boby will cooperate with law enforcement officials to resolve this issue.”
A congressional staffer told the Marine Corps Times that Boby was returning from a Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation shooting event in Maryland.
Capitol Police said Boby was being processed at headquarters as of Tuesday evening.