FBI Detains Man After 'Unprovoked' Attack on Flight Attendant

Witness says American Airlines passenger claimed he was the Messiah
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2022 9:30 AM CDT

He wasn't the Messiah, he was a very unruly passenger. A man was detained Wednesday after allegedly attacking a flight attendant on an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles from San Jose del Cabo in Mexico, and a witness says the man started shouting about being the Messiah after fellow passengers helped restrain him with zip ties. Barrie Livingstone tells KTLA the assault happened after the attendant told the man he couldn't use the lavatory in first class because he wasn't a first-class passenger. "Once he started screaming at him, the flight attendant just turned around," Livingstone says. "But as he turned around and walked away, the guy jumped out of his seat, bolted down the [aisle], and punched him in the back. It was totally unprovoked."

After the man was restrained with the help of four passengers, around every 10 minutes he "would just lash out and start screaming and shouting about being the Messiah and feeling misunderstood," Livingstone says. The passenger was taken into custody by airport police and the FBI after the plane landed safely at LAX. The FBI says the man was detained on suspicion of interfering with a flight crew, which NBC News notes is a federal offense. "Acts of violence against our team members are not tolerated by American Airlines," and the passenger will "never be allowed to travel with us in the future," the airline said. (More unruly passenger stories.)

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