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Loaded gun causes security screening lockdown at Edgecomb Courthouse Building.
At approximately 0805hrs this morning, security screeners at the Edgecomb Courthouse in downtown Tampa identified a loaded firearm in a briefcase as it passed through an x-ray machine. Sheriff's deputies immediately ordered a lockdown of the screening checkpoint and access to the main courthouse entrance was stopped for approximately 10 minutes.
The loaded .380 handgun was concealed in a briefcase belonging to attorney James Amarosa II, of Tampa, as he entered the courthouse for a morning hearing in civil court. Deputies detained Amarosa and questioned him for several minutes, while validating his state issued concealed weapons permit. Amarosa indicated that he had been working late the night before and forgotten the weapon was in his briefcase. Amarosa cooperated with investigators and expressed remorse for not having remembered the firearm was stored in the bag.
The weapon was impounded by the Sheriff's Office until the investigation has been completed.
Court officials were immediately notified of the incident and subsequent shutdown, which resulted in brief delay for persons entering the complex. The Sheriff's Office consulted with the State Attorney's Office and does not anticipate criminal charges in the incident.
The screening checkpoints are operated by G4S Corporation under the supervision of the Sheriff's Office Court Security Division. Screeners routinely seize more than 100 pounds of prohibited items from persons entering the courts each month, according to Corporal Robert Grant. However; the discovery of the firearm is the first this year and only the third by the Sheriff's Office screeners since they assumed responsibility for the screening function in January 2010.