OKLAHOMA CITY — A man intent on getting to Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was arrested at Will Rogers World Airport last week. Airport Spokesperson Karen Carney says Gingrich did fly commercial through Will Rogers last Monday, but he was never in danger.
“I don’t know why he (suspect) felt that Mr. Gingrich was here at that particular time,” she said.
Carney was referring to 53-year-old James Jay Heidebrecht, who was arrested last Monday night after telling police he needed to speak to Gingrich at the airport.
Gingrich had been campaigning in Oklahoma City that day but had already left at the time of Heidebrecht’s arrest.
“Sometimes people just think of the airport as a departure point and that’s where somebody is going to be and they want to come out and see if they can talk to them,” Carney said.
But police say Heidebrecht tried to walk through the exit area of TSA security.
When an officer told him he had to leave, police say he became angry.
“He began to scream very loudly throughout the airport about how he was there to meet Newt Gingrich at the airport,” Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.
In a report, an officer said Heidebrecht talked extensively about being a member of the CIA and had documents to give to Gingrich.
The officer eventually used a taser gun on him several times when he resisted arrest.
Carney says high profile figures like Gingrich usually coordinate their arrival and departure with TSA and airport security.
A safe escort is the goal, especially when political figures draw so much attention.
“Police are certainly aware that people may be coming out to the airport so there’s definitely a heightened awareness among everybody in the airport,” Carney said.
Police say Heidebrecht had a brown shoulder bag with him that only had personal items inside.
He bonded out of the Oklahoma County jail the next day.
At his northwest Oklahoma City residence, we were told Heidebrecht was seeing a doctor for psychological reasons and never meant to harm anyone.
He was arrested for trespassing, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Charges are pending.