Photo Credit: Greg Rosenke
Pilot Steals Plane And Threatens To Crash Into Mississippi Wal-Mart
Police have taken a pilot into police custody in Tupelo, Mississippi after he threatened to crash a small plane into a Wal-Mart. According to ABC News, Cory Wayne Patterson, who works at Tupelo Aviation, stole the aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air C-90, earlier that morning. Through his job, he had access to planes at Tupelo Regional Airport.
Around 5 a.m., local law enforcement learned that a plane was flying above Tupelo. The pilot contacted E911, threatening to intentionally crash into the Wal-Mart. Operators were eventually able to convince him not to do so. Patterson initially agreed to land the plane back at Tupelo Airport, however, he instead began traveling in the opposite direction.
Around 9:30, the aircraft became dangerously close to using up all its fuel. It was then that Patterson posted to his Facebook account a message that John Quaka, chief of the Tupelo Police Department, describes as “in essence, a goodbye.” The police department helped evacuate the Wal-Mart as well as another market close by.
“Citizens are asked to avoid that area until an all clear is given,” the department said in a statement. “With the mobility of an airplane of that type the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo.”
According to Flightradar24, Patterson was maneuvering the airfare in random circles and changing altitudes. Various law enforcement agencies continued to monitor the situation and are collaborating with one another as well as the FAA to further investigate the matter.
The plane eventually landed in Ripley, Mississippi, in a field. Patterson, who was the only person onboard the aircraft, was taken into custody and is being charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats. According to Quaka, Patterson will also face federal charges.