Massachusetts Man Arrested After Trying to Open Exit Door Mid-flight, Attacking Flight Attendant
A 32-year-old man from Leominister, MA is facing charges after allegedly attacking a flight attendant with a makeshift weapon and attempted to open an emergency exit door on a Boston-bound United Airlines plane midflight.
Francisco Severo Torres has been charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, WCVB5 reported. Due to the use of the weapon, Torres is facing imprisonment for any term of years or for life.
The incident occurred about 45 minutes before United Flight 2609 landed in Boston from Los Angeles, according to court documents. The flight crew received a warning in the cockpit that a side door situated between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft was disarmed. It was discovered that the locking handle of the Boeing 757’s door was moved out of the fully locked position.
Once the door and emergency slide were secured, a flight attendant reported that he saw Torres near the door and believed Torres had tampered with the door. When Torres was confronted about the door, he asked if there was any footage proving his involvement.
A passenger on the flight recorded Torres having an intense outburst at some point during the flight.
“So where’s the Homeland Security with the gun? Because I’m waiting for them to point the gun at me, so I can show everybody that I won’t die when I take every bullet in that clip to wherever in my body they shoot it, and then I will kill every man on this plane! So where are they?! … You don’t have Homeland Security. You’re not going to try and stop me? So you’re all cowards?” Torres said from his seating row.
“I don’t care if I’m scaring you. I don’t care. I don’t care. The women will be fine. Sit back down,” Torres told a flight attendant. “Why are you scared? … Well, tell them to bring SWAT to shoot me down because they’re going to have to shoot me down today. Remember that.”
Thanks to the help of good Samaritans onboard, Torres was eventually restrained and taken into custody.
According to a previous report, Torres has a history of threatening behavior, including the assault of his mother in 2017 by grabbing her wrist to take her car keys away from her. He was also charged with trying to rob a convenience store in 2015. Both charges were dismissed.