DFW Airport

Intoxicated Man Smokes, Threatens Passengers, Crew on Flight Diverted to DFW: Police

Unruly passenger believed to be intoxicated removed from ATL-LAX flight after diverting to DFW

Delta Air Lines

A man kicked off a flight at DFW Airport Monday is facing a public intoxication charge after witnesses say he was smoking in his seat, threatening flight attendants, and telling passengers and a pilot he had a gun.

According to a police report obtained by NBC 5, a flight attendant said the man's behavior seemed normal while boarding Delta Flight 365 from Atlanta to Los Angeles but that his behavior changed shortly afterward.

The man, a 50-year-old 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 divert the flight and remove him after several incidents including the man smoking (vaping) in his seat, refusing to wear a mask, threatening a passenger, and telling more than one person he had a gun.

The plane arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at about 3 p.m. and was boarded by DFW Airport police who were told the man had recently passed out.

Police said when they approached the man he was immediately confrontational and said he would fight them all the way out. The man stood up and walked on his own but continued to threaten and use coarse language with police and passengers as he left the aircraft.

Once off the plane, police said they attempted to talk with the man in the terminal but that he continued to be argumentative and combative. He was placed in handcuffs and arrested for public intoxication. No gun was found.

The man was transported to the DFW Airport jail but was released for medical treatment after complaining his "clavicle came out."

Flight attendants told investigators that during the flight the man grabbed the arm of a female flight attendant twice as she passed by him and said he deserved to be in first-class because he was a Navy SEAL. The flight attendant said he later cornered her in the galley and touched her arm. Another flight attendant said he had to position himself between the passenger and his co-worker and that they armed themselves with "tuff cuffs," a fire extinguisher and an oxygen tank in case the man became violent.

A passenger seated next to the man told police he started talking about being recently dishonorably discharged from the military and that he provided classified documents to CNN. He said the man then began drinking alcohol and spilling his drink and food and accidentally spitting on him. The passenger said the man got into confrontations with other passengers over his not wearing a mask and that he threatened to slap them. The passenger said the man told him he had a gun and that he should take it from him when he went to sleep. The passenger said the man then began vaping.

After flight attendants said they felt unsafe with the man on board the aircraft, the decision was made to divert to DFW and remove him before continuing to Los Angeles.

Despite other allegations made against the passenger, no charges have been filed other than the public intoxication charge.

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