Police in Mississippi says they apprehended an airport worker who had stolen a twin-engine plane and threatened to crash it into a Walmart on Saturday morning.
Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka announced at a news conference on Saturday, revealing the arrested pilot to be Cory Wayne Patterson. He has worked for Tupelo Aviation for the previous decade.
Patterson, a resident of Shannon, Mississippi, stole a Beechcraft King Air C90 twin-engine aircraft from Tupelo Regional Airport at 5:08 a.m. local time, according to Quaka.
It is common knowledge that Patterson has had some aviation training, as Quaka stated. “We have reason to doubt that he possesses a valid pilot’s licence. Investigations into that matter are still in progress.”
According to Quaka, Patterson’s job as a lineman involves refuelling aeroplanes. The chief stated that the jet had sufficient fuel the previous evening.
According to Quaka, Patterson contacted Lee County 911 at 5:23 a.m. from the plane and said he intended to crash into the West Main Walmart in Tupelo. Immediately after that, everyone in the shop and the surrounding area had to leave. The chief said that many of Tupelo’s key thoroughfares were also closed.
Charles Crowson, director of the Walmart Press Office, told CNN earlier that while the plane was in the air, the Walmart store in Tupelo had been “closed and evacuated.”
According to Quaka, the pilot was called by Tupelo Police negotiators, who persuaded him to land at the airport. Quaka stated that a private pilot aiding police with Patterson had aborted the landing and flown off in the northwest. According to Quaka, multiple counties have been informed of the situation.
Patterson posted on Facebook over four hours later. “In a nutshell, it was a farewell. Now we realised he was almost out of gas, “Says Quaka. According to the chief, Patterson admitted he had landed in a field after police lost and regained radar contact with the plane.
The chief stated that Patterson was arrested shortly afterwards and charged with grand theft and terroristic threats. According to booking records, he was taken into custody in Lee County on Saturday afternoon. Whether or not Patterson has legal representation is unknown.
According to Quaka, federal charges are likely to be filed.
The FAA claims to be looking into what happened. According to a spokeswoman, the Jackson, Mississippi, field office of the FBI was also involved in the incident response.
At approximately 10:20 a.m., Roxanne Ward, 42, said the jet landed behind the Gravestown Fire Department, not far from her house. She commented, “He landed very hard.”
She filmed the small plane landing safely in a field, where it can be seen somewhat undamaged and surrounded by law authorities. According to Ward, when she heard the plane approaching, she ran to her in-laws’ house and hid in the basement. When that happened, we heard a thud.
When asked by a reporter, Quaka claimed that he has spoken with the pilot’s family, who are “extremely anxious” for Patterson’s safety.
With gratitude that “the matter has been settled and that no one was wounded,” Governor Tate Reeves tweeted. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who handled the issue professionally.”