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Woman in custody after gun found in briefcase at courthouse

October 21, 2011 |  9:58 pm

Gun in courthouse

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of taking a handgun into a downtown Los Angeles court building, authorities said Friday.

Susan Zabala was arrested Thursday as she entered the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.  As she passed her property through the X-ray screening device, a sheriff’s security assistant noticed a gun in her briefcase. Zabala was detained, then arrested by sheriff’s deputies in the courthouse.

Zabala told deputies she had taken her husband’s briefcase by mistake, Parker said. She was at court to appear as a defendant in a petty theft case, he said. The gun was a Smith and Wesson 2-inch revolver, loaded with five rounds of blanks, Parker said.

Zabala was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of a firearm in a courthouse. She is being held at the Century Regional Detention Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.

This is the second gun recovered this year by deputies and sheriff’s security officers in courthouses in Los Angeles County, Parker said. Thus far in 2011, 34,266 knives have been confiscated and 47 arrests for narcotics violations have been made. In 2010, two guns and 51,806 knives were confiscated from people entering court facilities, and 73 narcotics arrests were made.


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Photo: The gun that was found in a woman's briefcase at the criminal courts building. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department