MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — A cancer-stricken Occupy Wall Street protester was arrested for trying to bring a Colt .45 handgun and five rounds of ammunition through security at Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday, sources said.
Court officers collared John Scott Dekuyper, 53, at 100 Centre Street, about 9:45 a.m. and charged him with criminal possession of a weapon. He was ordered held on a $300,000 bail bond or $50,000 cash bail.
Prosecutors said a court officer placed Dekuyper's bag through the X-ray machine at the entrance to the courthouse twice to "confirm his suspicion" that the bag contained a weapon. A box containing five bullets was also found in a side pocket.
When questioned by the court officer, Dekuyper then "indicated he had forgotten to remove the gun from his bag," Assistant District Attorney Ryan Hayward said at Dekuyper's criminal court arraignment Wednesday night.
"He indicated the gun was purchased legally in the state of Delaware but he does not have a carry permit and he packed the gun last night to bring to New York but forgot to take it out of his bag before coming to the courthouse," Hayward said.
Dekuyper, who lives in Delaware, had gone to the wrong courthouse for an appearance in his grand larceny, resisting arrest and government obstruction case stemming from an Oct. 15 protest march in Times Square.
In that case, which is still pending, he allegedly took a police chief's badge during the contentious march, although his lawyer denies the charges and claims Dekuyper was badly injured by police during the demonstration. .
Witnesses said Dekuyper was arrested within seconds of the weapon discovery by diligent court officers who were inspecting him as he went through the metal detectors even though he was supposed to be appearing at 346 Broadway, one block away.
"I'm gonna turn it in! I'm gonna turn it in!" Dekuyper said, according to Neil Browne, who owns the concession stand adjacent to the building's southern entrance.
Browne said court officers responded swiftly and Dekuyper was handcuffed within seconds.
"They read him the riot act. They did their jobs," Browne added.
Lawrence Linzer, the lawyer who handled Dekuyper's gun arraignment, argued it was "one of those situations" where an registered weapon from another was found in the possession of an out-of-towner.
"This is not a situation where this defendant was intending to bring the gun into this courthouse," he added.
"Quite frankly, he would be an idiot" to come to court with a weapon in his bag intentionally, the lawyer added.
His lawyers on both cases described Dekuyper as a family man, who has a wife and two kids. He and his wife own and manage a small hotel and earns a modest living.
Gideon Orion Oliver, who represents Dekuyper on the protest case currently, said the one-time protester had been receiving chemotherapy for thyroid cancer but has managed to come to New York for court appearances despite his condition. He recently went off chemotherapy treatment but still takes medication regularly, the lawyer said.
Oliver said Dekuyper's medical condition or related stress might have contributed to the forgetfulness but that he was not yet sure of what happened.
The lawyer added that Delaware police searched his client's home for other weapons but didn't find any.
Dekuyper joined the national anti-greed movement last year to set an example for his daughters, and spent time at the Zuccotti Park encampment before his October arrest, the lawyer said.