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Fox News security contractor faces gun charges after Baltimore unrest

Fox News security contractor faces gun charges after Baltimore unrest
Donald F. Scott was working as security for FOX News amid the unrest on May 1 when he was arrested for carrying two firearms without a permit to carry in Maryland. He remains in jail, awaiting trial on July 1. (Baltimore Sun)

As several hundred protesters milled around Baltimore City Hall after a citywide curfew went into effect May 1, a mounted city officer on Fayette Street said he spotted a man holding handcuffs and an ammunition box.

Officer John Potter then watched Donald F. Scott — who was working as a security guard for Fox News at the time — open the rear hatch of a Chevy Suburban and pull a Glock handgun from his waistband, according to the officer's account.

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Scott, 50, has been in jail since the incident, held on $350,000 bail on two gun charges, according to the Baltimore public defender's office.

During the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray, a number of national media outlets reported from Baltimore's streets. Television networks such as Fox provided security to accompany reporters and personalities, including Geraldo Rivera.

Gray died April 19, a week after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

Dana Klinghoffer, a Fox spokeswoman, referred questions to a security contractor used by Fox during the Baltimore unrest. Officials with that company didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.

Assistant Public Defender Anthony Strollo, who was appointed Scott's attorney after Scott was deemed indigent, said in a motion seeking his release that he lives with his wife in Washington with their seven children. Scott is a former law enforcement officer, bus driver and "the breadwinner for the family," Strollo wrote.

"He comes from a family of law enforcement officers," Strollo wrote. "We believe that he has no adult record and was in Baltimore to work security during the riots."

Neither Scott nor his family could be reached for comment.

According to Potter's statement of probable cause, he signaled to other officers after spotting the Glock and Scott was detained. The Glock had one bullet in the chamber. Officers then found a loaded Cobra revolver in a second holster on Scott's waist, the statement said.

Scott told the officers he left his permit to carry the weapons at home, according to the statement. Police later determined that Scott did not have a license to carry in Maryland, the statement said.

He now faces charges for possessing a handgun on his person and another for possessing a handgun in a vehicle. The Suburban SUV was released to Fox News.

In a bail filing in court, the state said Scott "poses a serious threat to public safety." Pretrial services incorrectly found Scott had a criminal conviction in the District of Columbia, according to Strollo.

Scott is scheduled to go to trial July 1, according to court records.

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