By Cam Inman Contra Costa Times
Linebacker Aldon Smith was detained by police Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, allegedly for being uncooperative with security personnel and stating he had a bomb.
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson would only confirm that a 25-year-old male from San Jose had been detained and was being transported to booking, after which time his name would be released.
“At approximately 1400 hrs, a 25-year-old male resident of San Jose, California, was going through Terminal 1 screening and was randomly selected for a secondary screening,” Sgt. Karla Ortiz said in a statement. “The suspect then became belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding towards the gate area.
“Los Angeles Airport Police made contact with him at the gate and he was positively identified as the person in question. Once again the male subject became uncooperative and he was detained and taken into custody by Airport Police and is currently being transported to LAPD for booking.”
Smith, who turns 25 on Aug. 25, was at Gate 6 of Terminal 1 when confronted by several police, who then led Smith away from the Southwest gate, according to eyewitness John Egan of Austin, Texas.
“I heard him say, ‘I did nothing wrong,’” Egan said. “The whole thing ratcheted up from there. The cops were trying to calm him down. He wasn’t out of control; just agitated.”
“We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment.”
Smith has had multiple run-ins with police since joining the 49ers in 2011 and becoming one of the franchise’s all-time best pass rushers.
Last September, Smith was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence following a single-car accident in San Jose, two days before a game against the Indianapolis Colts. Smith played in that game and then went on a five-week voluntary leave to attend a substance-abuse treatment facility.
Smith is also facing three felony counts of possessing illegal assault rifles, which deputies discovered after a June 2012 party at Smith’s San Jose home. Smith sustained stab wounds at the party, and two partygoers were wounded by gunfire from alleged gang members.
Following his breakout rookie season, Smith was arrested in Miami Beach in January 2012 for suspicion of drunken driving, a charge that was reduced to reckless driving. He was injured nine months later as a passenger in a single-car accident near his San Jose home.
Smith has produced 42 regular-season sacks since the 49ers selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Missouri.
Jed York, the 49ers CEO, told reporters at last month’s league meetings in Florida that Smith seemed to be doing well and has received help from several people, within the confines of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
“You can do so much. Somebody has to work for themselves if they’re going to get through these issues,” York said. “We want to be very supportive of Aldon and let him know that if he needs anything we’re here for him. We want to make sure that he continues to work through this.
“But I think it’s literally one day at a time and we’re there for him. But we also don’t want to be too in-his-face and make it more stick than carrot.”
Smith set a franchise rookie record with 14 sacks, then set the overall franchise mark with 19½ sacks in 2013. He had 8½ sacks last season before adding 3½ during a postseason run that ended in the NFC Championship game at Seattle.
Several others 49ers have been the subjects of recent police investigations, including quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Quinton Patton regarding an incident with a female at their Miami suite April 1.
Cornerback Chris Culliver pleaded not guilty Friday to misdemeanor hit-and-run and felony possession of brass knuckles charges in Santa Clara County Superior Court, stemming from a March 28 incident in San Jose. Other 49ers who’ve had police encounters are linebacker Ahmad Brooks (no assault charges filed after June 2013 incident), offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore (arrested in January and charged with public intoxication), wide receiver Michael Crabtree (not charged with sexual assault in January 2013 after a police investigation) and offensive linemen Al Netter (suspicion of drunken driving, February 2013) and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs (suspicion of driving under the influence, November 2012).