He wasn't arrested for bringing a weapon into the airport, a public facility—turns out that's completely legal in Arizona, as long as you don't get in the TSA line. You can open carry but you can't point your gun at someone, and that apparently is what he did.
Peter Steinmetz, 54, was arrested Friday on suspicion of two counts of disorderly conduct after removing his AR-15 rifle from his shoulder with the muzzle faced towards a woman and her 17-year-old daughter, according to Phoenix police.Steinmetz said he simply went to the airport for coffee, because, as most good guys with a gun know, when you want a cup of joe, a busy airport is the most convenient place to stop.
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This wasn't the doctor's first gun-totin' drama at Sky Harbor. Last November he also brought his rifle into the terminal when he arrived to pick up his wife—to protect her luggage I guess. To provide backup Steinmetz brought his son, who was also packing heat. When confronted by security, Steinmetz said he was exercising his Second Amendment rights and protesting the TSA, which, according to his Facebook page, he'd like to get rid of completely:
Perhaps the american [sic] people can wake up and realize that the TSA is routinely virtually strip-searching everyone while achieving absolutely nothing in terms of improved security... Time to get rid of the expensive and wasteful TSA!In the wake of this not-so-good publicity for Barrows, which relies on lots of local big-ticket donations, like Mohammad Ali's annual fundraiser, the hospital said Wednesday that they had placed Steinmetz on administrative leave.
Following his arrest at Sky Harbor Airport and after careful analysis and review, Dr. Peter Steinmetz has been placed on administrative leave as a part-time scientist at St. Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute. St. Joseph's and Barrow will cooperate with the authorities regarding his arrest and we will continue to take very seriously the charges that have been filed against him.You won't find evidence of Dr. Steinmetz at Barrows' website today. Nor will you find his name at another local institution where he used to work: Arizona State University. New Times reported today that Steinmetz was originally lured to the state from Minnesota in 2005 by ASU, which offered him an associate professor position to teach engineering.
Like his Barrows experience, that job didn't turn out too well either. ASU sacked Steinmetz in 2007 for failing to raise enough research cash to support his position, and he responded by suing the school, a lawsuit that eventually went nowhere. Steinmetz was effectively gone from ASU by 2008, but until this week the school's website still listed him as co-chair of a "graduate external committee."
Ooops. ASU isn't talking, but today there's no mention of the doctor at the university's website. The old screen shot, which New Times captured before ASU scrubbed Steinmetz's page, described his "extraordinary" work on human brains. If only he had looked a little more inward.