A black WWE wrestler says he feared for his life after finding a loaded gun in his rental car.
Shelton Benjamin, 42, tweeted Wednesday his dismay at finding a Ruger pistol and a magazine inside the glove compartment of a vehicle he rented from Budget Car Rental.
Benjamin tweeted: “Thank you @Budget (LIT) for your great service of putting my reputation, freedom and quite possibly my life in jeopardy I’ve unknowingly been driving your car around the last 4 days with a F’N LOADED GUN in the Glove compartment!!”
The wrestler shared a picture of the gun and magazine, which appear to be inside a black bag.
In a response to the wrestling star, a Budget customer service representative said it had “turned this matter over to local law enforcement for an appropriate investigation.”
Benjamin, Budget and WWE could not be reached for additional comment.
Benjamin is a decorated amateur and professional wrestler. He is certified by the NCAA as a two-time All-American champion in collegiate wrestling. He studied at the University of Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship.
After college, the amateur wrestler signed a contract with WWE to pursue professional wrestling. He made his television debut for the grappling company in 2002. During his initial tenure he became a three-time intercontinental champion, one-time United States champion and a two-time tag team champion.
Benjamin was fired by WWE in 2010, but returned in 2017 as part of its SmackDown Live program. He is currently in a tag team with Chad Gable.
The wrestler’s concerns that his life might be in jeopardy are not unfounded. Black drivers are more likely to be racially profiled by police in the United States, studies have shown.
In 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics published the results of a study on traffic stops two years earlier, in 2011. The BJS found that black drivers were stopped more frequently than white or hispanic drivers: 13 percent, compared with 10 percent for the other two ethnic groups. Black (6 percent) and hispanic (7 percent) drivers were also more likely to be searched than white drivers (2 percent).
In gender terms, men (12 percent) were stopped by police more than women (8 percent).