The man responsible for a suspicious backpack scare at Portland International Airport Tuesday night spoke to Fox 12 about his simple mistake that played out in a very public way.
Kevin, who didn't want his last name used to protect his privacy, said he was waiting for his ride on a bench outside of baggage claim. When his girlfriend arrived, he said he accidentally left his carry-on backpack behind.
"When I got home, opened the back of the Jeep and was like ‘Oh no, where's my backpack?'" said Kevin. "I really didn't know it was going to turn into what it did."
Kevin feared the bag would be stolen, but when he called the airport to report it, he found out police had a much bigger fear.
"Even then, I had no idea what a big deal it was until I turned on the news and I was like 'Wow, here we go.'"
Kevin said he was watching the live video on Fox 12 as a member of the bomb squad approached his bag one last time before the all clear was called. Before that, he said police firmly, but respectfully, questioned him about the contents.
"They were concerned about the pouch. They were concerned about the patch on there, and those are two things I never thought about."
The patch is a replica of signs posted on military vehicles while he was serving in Iraq; the coin pouch - shaped like a grenade - is a reminder of what sent him home early.
"I got hit by two grenades in Baghdad," said Kevin about the incident that happened nine years ago Thursday. He lost his right leg below the knee and his left leg above the knee. The charger used to charge the left-leg prosthetic was also in the bag and had police concerned because he said it looks unusual.
Kevin said he understands the abundance of caution.
"(Police) did what they were supposed to do," Kevin said. "They did a great job."
He also understands the frustration of those forced out of the baggage area while the bag was being investigated.
"It was an honest mistake," Kevin said. "I apologize to all the folks who were trying to get home."
It's a mistake he won't make again, but he said he can't speak for anyone else.
"It's probably not the last time that situation will present itself somewhere around the country so my sympathies go out to the next guy it happens to," he said.
Kevin returned to the airport to be questioned. The Port of Portland said no charges were expected to be filed.
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