The Night Elvis Dropped Two Loaded Guns at the Binghamton Airport
Less than three months before his death, Elvis Presley made a memorable arrival in Broome County ahead of two highly-anticipated shows.
Not much has been written about the middle-of-the-night episode that occurred moments after Presley's private jet landed at the Broome County Airport in the town of Maine in May 1977.
According to a 2010 Las Vegas Review-Journal account provided by the singer's bodyguards, Presley had traveled to the Binghamton area following a concert in Rochester.
Dick Grob, chief of security, warned Presley they were in a restricted gun-carry area. Around 3 a.m. on May 26, the singer started to descend the stairs from his plane.
The newspaper account states as Presley raised his arms to acknowledge some fans who showed up to welcome him to Broome County, "two loaded semiautomatic Colt pistols fell from his waistband and bounced down the steps."
Bodyguard Sam Thompson said "Elvis had a sheepish grin as he came down." An unnamed law enforcement officer was waiting for the singer.
According to Thompson, Presley "completely disarmed the man by shaking his hand and introducing himself." The unidentified cop then "handed him the guns and said, ‘I believe these are yours Mr. Presley.’ Elvis stuck ’em back in his waistband."
Thompson said those guns were on display at Graceland, which had been Presley's residence in Memphis.
It's unclear what law enforcement officer handed the pistols back to Presley.
Retired Broome County Sheriff David Harder on Wednesday said he had never heard of the airport incident. Harder was a sheriff's deputy at the time of Presley's 1977 stop in Binghamton.
Elvis Presley performed at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena on May 26 and May 27, 1977. He died at Graceland 81 days later.
LISTEN: Music from Elvis Presley's Binghamton concert on May 27, 1977.
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