HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The most visible spokesman at Redstone Arsenal, Christopher Colster, pleaded guilty in April to a federal charge of bringing a weapon on the Arsenal, according to federal court records.
The guilty plea took place about two months before Colster – for a day – became among the most visible individuals in America.
He was the spokesman for Redstone Arsenal during the June 27 facilty-wide lockdown that began with reports of an armed shooter on the base. The lockdown, which apparently began with 911 calls, turned out to be a false alarm -- no shooter or gun was located.
Colster was cited on Feb. 17, records show, after he brought a weapon to building 4488 on the Arsenal, the Redstone Garrison Command building, which also houses the public affairs office where Colster works.
An U.S. Army Material Command spokesman told WHNT News 19 this afternoon that Redstone’s Directorate of Emergency Services responded on Feb. 17 to a report of a “possible concealed weapon” situation. Officers approached Colster and asked if he was carrying a weapon. He responded that he was carrying a weapon, according to the police report cited by the spokesman. A gun and ammunition were taken from Colster.
The police report indicates Colster was “apprehended, processed and cited with a U.S. District Court violation notice.” Police confiscated the gun and ammunition and Colster was allowed to leave, with the notice to later appear in court, the spokesman said.
Federal law prohibits bringing a firearm or other dangerous weapon on a federal facility and the charge carries up to a year in prison.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis sentenced Colster on April 20 to a $500 fine and 12 months probation, records show. Colster appeared without an attorney before the court, according to federal court records.
Colster tells WHNT News 19, "Unfortunately this incident did occur. It was a mistake and it's an anomaly during an otherwise fantastic military and civil service career. I've put it behind me, paid the costs and continue to serve with pride. Team Redstone is an amazing and supportive community and I appreciate everyone's concern."
Colster has remained in his public affairs role following the incident, but a spokesperson for the Army Materiel Command told WHNT News 19 there is an open investigation into him. She declined to discuss what additional discipline he could face.
The spokesperson also said that employee safety is the number priority of the leadership at Redstone Arsenal.
An effort to contact Colster Friday was unsuccessful.