Man smokes and threatens passengers on diverted flight – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
A man who kicked off a flight at DFW airport on Monday faces a public intoxication charge after witnesses said he was smoking in his seat, threatened flight attendants and told the passengers and a pilot that he had a gun.
According to a police report obtained by NBC 5, a flight attendant said the man’s behavior appeared normal when boarding the Delta 365 flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, but his behavior changed little from time after.
The man, a 50-year-old man from Panama, Florida, was cut off by flight attendants after being served two small bottles of vodka on the flight.
Authorities said they decided to hijack the flight and withdraw it after several incidents, including the man smoking (vaping) in his seat, refusing to wear a mask, threatening a passenger and telling more than one that he had a gun.
The plane arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport around 3 p.m. and was picked up by DFW airport police who learned the man had recently passed out.
Police said that when approaching the man he was immediately aggressive and said he would fight them to the end. The man stood up and walked alone, but continued to threaten and use foul language with police and passengers as he exited the plane.
After getting off the plane, police said they attempted to speak with the man in the terminal, but he continued to be argumentative and combative. He was handcuffed and arrested for public intoxication. No weapons were found.
The man was transported to DFW Airport Prison but was released for medical treatment after complaining that his “collarbone had come out”.
Flight attendants told investigators during the flight the man grabbed a flight attendant’s arm twice as she walked past him and said he deserved to be first class because he was a Navy SEAL. The flight attendant said he then cornered her in the kitchen and touched her arm. Another flight attendant said he must have stood between the passenger and his colleague and that they armed themselves with “tuff handcuffs”, a fire extinguisher and an oxygen tank just in case. man would become violent.
A passenger sitting next to the man told police he started talking about his recent dishonorable discharge and provided classified documents to CNN. He said the man then started drinking alcohol and spilling his food and drink and accidentally spitting on him. The passenger said the man clashed with other passengers because he was not wearing a mask and threatened to slap them. The passenger said the man told him he had a gun and should take it from him when he fell asleep. The passenger said the man then started vaping.
After flight attendants said they did not feel safe with the man on the plane, the decision was made to divert to DFW and send him back before continuing to Los Angeles.
Despite other allegations against the passenger, no charges were filed other than the charge of public intoxication.