Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Breaking News: Air Marshal Kills Passenger

Just caught this on the yahoo home page.
Airline Passenger Who Made Threat Killed
MIAMI - A passenger who claimed to have a bomb in a carry-on bag was shot and killed by a federal air marshal Wednesday on a jetway to an American Airlines plane that had arrived from Colombia, officials said.

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Doyle said the dead passenger was a 44-year-old U.S. citizen.

It was the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks that an air marshal had shot at a passenger or suspect, he said. A witness said that the man frantically ran down the aisle of the Boeing 757 and that a woman with him said he was mentally ill.

The passenger, who indicated there was a bomb in the bag, was confronted by air marshals but ran off the aircraft, Doyle said.

The marshals pursued and ordered the passenger to get on the ground, but the man did not comply and was shot when apparently reaching into the bag, Doyle said. Authorities did not immediately say whether any bomb was found.

Yikes. That ought to cut down on bomb jokes in security lines for awhile.

Seriously, let's hope for the air marshal that this was a "clean shoot." I feel bad for the family of the victim, since it seems like he was mentally ill (and off his meds), yet probably not actually a threat. The cable networks are going to go crazy with this... We'll know more when they say whether there was a bomb or not.

I suppose it indicates a certain level of security "success", but it's hard to find a good side to this right now.

UPDATE: Well, there was no bomb. [link] It sounds like this was a mentally unstable guy who just lost it after being cooped up on a flight from Peru. A tragedy all around. This poor guy's wife was screaming to the officers not to shoot, and had to watch helplessly as he was gunned down. And the poor Air Marshal has to live with killing a man.

Deadly force is warranted in the case of a suspected bomber, and it looks like the Air Marshal had no choice.


Watch 'n Wait said...

If a passenger is showing erratic behaviors as this one was, claiming he has a bomb in his bag, runs screaming, refuses to obey orders, then reaches into his that point, for the safety of others, the Air Marshal has no choice. What people need to know is that, because they are usually airborne, Air Marshals must shoot to kill, and they don't miss.

Mr Furious said...

Yep. I have no problem with what happened, it sounds like the Air Marshal didn't have any choice.

I feel bad for the victim's wife, since it seems as if it was a tragic misundersanding (crazy guy/no threat) and she had to watch it happen. And bad for the AM, as it is surely not easy to blow somebody away—justified or not.